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THE CASTLE BUILDER 






\\\ M PHI ANDERS* >N 

Auth "A.! of a 

Missionary. <-t« 



DE*BRB1 M- \v S 

Salt Lake ( itv . Ctah 
1909 






Copyright by 

NEPHI ANDERSON 

1902 



• • • 



• • • *, 



TO !/; FJTl 1NX MOTHER 

Mam of uhose ihtldhotii "ices are herein faith/:. 

natel\ 'I " . <ited 



Dream, youth! dream nobly 
and manfully, and thy dreams 
shall be thy prophets. — Lord Bul- 
zver Lytton. 



ENTRi riON. 

I read Tii ru BuiLDEI with infinite delight 

characters have many cunnt tlie 

"Morm member has wrap] 

■boot his I mantle o! romance — under 

which. hiddei re of hero ft 

Tit ru Bi ii. in. k faith fully describ 

and explains life, in the n that 

Jwart nun and women to the Latter-day 
cause. While it ; the life, the convert- early 

hardships, moral hat* also tells how 

rilled with n 

»f /i«m. 

The whole is interwoven with the old but ever new 

the 1' 1% lithftll hearts. 

All tbifl i- \\ ell and go t when I reluctantly 

parted with Harald and Thora, there appeared before 
them a still mOTC romantic and fascinatil -er ; — I 

wished: I ith them over th- -'id plains, and 

mountains, to /ion; I wished to learn of their new 

hardships in redeeming the desert, in rearing and edu- 
cating their children in the mi erty; how. in 
building their castles as Pi in the Rocky Moun- 



vi. INTRODUCTION. 

tains, their souls were clarified in the furnace of heavy 
trial and sore affliction; and. typical of the Pioneers, 
how they yet conquered, and triumphed and proved 
faithful to the end, dying amidst their children's peace- 
ful benedictions, with the gospel's polar light of truth 
beckoning them on to the glory of the Father. 

In The Castle Builder, the story is only begun. 
To tell the remainder will require a greater volume. 
Some day, I hope, that may be written. If not by my 
friend, Xephi Anderson, then by a descendant of his 
characters, — a young man in whose soul the dream- 
and-work energy of Harald and the love-nature of 
Thora are curiously intertwined with the sweet spirit 
of an English 1'ioneer wanderer in the American des- 
ert, whose pretty castles, because Need pointed to low- 
lier things, only in the mists were builded. 

In the meantime, the reader will find delight in the 

true-to-life introduction which this book gives to the 

lives of two typical ''Mormon" converts. 

Edward H. Anderson. 
Salt Lake City, Utah. 



CONTENTS. 



PART FIRST. 

CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

The Boy Builder 9 

CHAPTER II. 
Celebration of Harald's Birthday 20 

CHAPTER III. 
Schooling and Confirmation 30 

CHAPTER IV. 
Along the Coast to the Land of Ice and Snow 44 

CHAPTER V. 
Home Life in the Far North 55 

CHAPTER VI. 
Life of the Norwegian Fisherman 66 

CHAPTER VII. 
Harald's Adventure on the Sea 73 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Convalescence 85 

CHAPTER IX. 
A Week with Thora in the Land of the Midnight Sun. 94 

PART SECOND. 

CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

Reminiscent 110 



viii. CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER II. 
tor 1'ange Takes a Hand 118 

CHAPTER III. 
Seeking after the Truth 130 

CHAPTER IV. 
litical Castles . 143 

CHAPTER V. 
An Intruder and his Doctrine 148 

CHAPTER VI. 
The Struggle to Decide 161 

CHAPTER VII. 
The Road from the Summit of Despair to the Land of 

Promise 173 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Harald's Return to Father and Home 181 

CHAPTER IX. 

Interview with Merchant Bernhard 193 

CHAPTER X. 
The Mystery of Thora 200 

CHAPTER XI. 
The Triumph of Love 212 

CHAPTER XII. 
Castles Old and New 227 



THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



PART FIRST. 
I. 

THE BOY BUILDER. 

The hill from the inland side was not hard to 
climb, so the boy made rapid progress, springing from 
rock to grassy plat, and stepping lightly from boulder 
up to moss-covered ledge. The elevation jutted from 
the main chain of the Dovre mountains out towards the 
ocean; but before it reached the sea it had been sur- 
rounded by an intricate tangle of fjords. In its eternal 
battle with the seaward elements, it had become scarred 
and seamed, and the forests of pine which covered the 
main chain had found but small foothold on the bare, 
weather-beaten promontory. 

The boy at last reached the summit, and, as he 
stood panting, he lifted a ragged cap from a mop of 
straggling brown hair, and wiped his forehead. The 
boy took deep draughts of the bracing breeze that swept 
over the hill from the ocean. It was about noon. A 



\ 



10 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

sweet May morning had awakened wild nature and 
coaxed her into her loveliest mood. The sun was pie; 
antly warm. The boy stood erect, looking out to- 
wards the open sea which lay beyond the fjord and a 
group of islands ; then his eyes traced the long arm of 
the sea winding up into the land, until it was lost be- 
hind a distant wooded point ; then landward he gazed, 
and there appeared naught but ridges upon ridges, cov- 
ered with dark forest growth, broken now and then 
with a green valley, checkered into farms and dotted 
with red-roofed houses ; but his gaze turned seaward 
again, and there it lingered. The boy had big, grey- 
blue eyes, and although he seemed to fix them on a 
long trail of black smoke on the horizon, caused by 
some passing steamer, the stare was intense, as though 
piercing farther yet into the mysterious depths of space. 
The tinkle of a sheep's bell, which came up from a 
grassy slope below, suddenly awoke the boy from hi- 
reverie, and he hastened down the hill again to where 
a small flock of sheep was quietly taking its noon rest. 
As the sheep would be content for yet another hour or 
two, the young shepherd betook himself down to the 
fjord, under the ledge, where the warm sun shone 
brightly against the rocks. A smooth beach of sand 
stretched along at the base of the cliff, broken into now 
and then by confused masses of stone which had come 
down from the upper -lupes. Mere, then, was an ideal 
place in which to play. Outside was the ocean, often 
fierce and wild and so savage that it beat to pieces the 
frail vessels made by human hands and entrusted to 
it- care; hut here inside, protected by a barrier of isl- 



THE BOY BUILDER. 11 

ands, the waters of the fjord were calm and beautiful, 
reflecting the blue sky and gray cliffs in their still 
depths. Outside represented the harsh, unfeeling, 
grown-up world of men and women ; inside was the 
sweet, trustful, sun-bathed world of childhood. 

The boy sat down in the sand up farthest toward 
the rocks where it was warm and dry. The sand was 
clean — it would not soil his clothing, made both trou- 
sers and shirt, of a coarse hempen cloth. His shoes 
showed patch upon patch — but his stockings were of 
wool, fine and warm : the wearer certainly had a good 
grandmother living somewhere within reach. 

The boy dug in the sand with his birch stick. Then 
he wrote names in the smooth places. The sheep re- 
mained quiet, and so he wandered along the beach un- 
til he came to a beautiful nook where a mass of smooth 
stones lay against the cliff. He lifted one, and admired 
its clean-cut edges and corners. Then it occurred to 
him what fun it would be to build a house with these 
stones so well formed for the purpose. With his stick, 
he outlined a three-roomed building, and began at once 
laying the foundation with the largest stones, as he had 
seen the mason at home do. To make something, to 
build, is such a pleasure, and the boy entered into his 
work with eagerness. 

For a whole hour he worked, though it seemed 
but a few minutes to him. The walls arose gradually, 
and he succeeded very well in placing proper openings 
for windows and doors. Once in a while he would 
step back a short distance to survey his work, and then 
he was reminded of the pictures of ancient castles he 



12 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

had seen in a geography at school. There were no 
glass windows in them, and, of course, there could be 
none in his. If he could only raise that wall to make 
it look like one of those towers, with openings or spaces 
in the top, the effect would be quite grand. And then, 
the builder contemplated laying out grounds around 
his miniature castle, and enclosing the whole with a 
fence, or, better still, with a high stone wall. 

Thus the boy worked and mused, and did not hear 
the tinkle of the sheep-bell up the hill-side. The after- 
noon was warm, the sky continued free from clouds, 
the small waves of the fjord lapped softly on the sands. 
In a niche above him, some soil had lodged, and in this. 
a bunch of tall grass and a slender willow had found 
root. Two birds were making a nest in this secluded 
spot, happy over their work ; but their chirps and calls 
did not disturb the boy-builder. 

He did not hear the patter of feet coming towards 
him from the other side of the projecting ledge, neither 
did he see the little girl's head as it peered around a 
large boulder, watching him as he worked. When his 
back was turned, the girl cautiously picked up a pebble 
and tossed it into the roofless castle. The builder did 
not see the action, but the second missile struck the top 
stone of the tower and slightly dislodged it. He turned 
quickly and saw her laughing at him from over the top 
of a large boulder. 

"Halloo, Harald," she said. "What are you mak- 
ing? It looks like a castle. Is it? What a fine place 
to play in ! Help me over this ledge, won't vou, Har- 
ald?" 



THE BOY BUILDER. 13 

Startled as he was, he did not at once obey. His 
face flushed, and he made an effort to brush the fand 
from his clothes. 

"Help me over, please, Harald. I want to see that 
beautiful house," and the girl threw the hat she had 
held in her hand over the boulder. It fell squarely on 
the towtr of the castle, where it hung like a red Viking 
war-shield from the walls. Then she began to climb 
up the i^cks, but as she could get only about half way 
over, Harald of necessity reached his strong arms over 
the ledge, and, taking her hands, nearly lifted her over 
to his side. 

"My ! how strong you are !" she cried. "I wish I 
were as strong as you, then I would build houses, too. 
I don't see how you can lift those big rocks. But you 
are a big, strong boy, and I am only a girl, and weak 
and sickly at that. How I wish I had brought my dolls. 
Your house is very nearly big enough for me to get 
into, isn't it? If you'd only make the door a bit larger, 
now." 

She prattled on, while he stood awkwardly enough, 
not knowing what to say or do. He was not very well 
acquainted with Thora, daughter of the well-to-do 
merchant, Bernhard, down at Vangen. He was but the 
son of poor Einer Gundersen, the timberman. He had 
seen her a number of times at the church, and she had 
sometimes gone with her father to Opdal, when he had 
visited on business connected with the sheep. She was 
such a small, sickly-looking girl, Harald had thought, 
and he had wondered how it could be that he, who had 
scarcely enough to eat once a day, should be so strong. 



14 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

while she who, no doubt, could eat all she wanted, as 
many times a day as she wished, should be so pale and 
puny. However, Thora had always treated him well, 
and at one time she had persuaded her father to give 
him a sick lamb for a present. Though Harald had 
nursed the lamb carefully, it had died ; and with it went 
the boy's distant dream of owning a flock of sheep of 
his own. 

Thora was well and warmly dressed, although the 
day was not cold. The pale face had a tingle of color in 
each cheek. She chatted freely with him, and admired 
his work. Harald's great, hungry, boy heart took her 
in, as the wild flower might take the warming beams 
of the sun ; and, although he was not yet free of speech 
in her presence, he did forget himself and the fleet- 
ing time, as he endeavored to entertain his friend. 

"Shall I build you a larger house?" he asked. 

"Oh, no ; this one is so cute. See, here we can make 
the lawn, and you might get some small trees, and plant 
them at the back. Would they grow, do you think? Of 
course the grass would not grow, but we can play that 
the sand is grass — it is so clean and warm anyway." 

"Ill get some shells to put on the roof," said he, 
"and moss would make a soft carpet inside." 

"Why, it will be a real castle, won't it?" she cried 
in delight. "All we will need then will be some queens 
and kings and princes, and such folks, to live in it. Then 
an army might come up and try to take it. [s it strong 
enough to resi-t. do you think? There's the red shield 
now on the walls, as a challenge to battle," — at which 
they both laughed. 









THE BOY BUILDER. 15 

"If you will be the queen," said he, "I — I — can 
be the army that fights for you and protects you in your 
castle." 

"But we must have a king, too," was her answer. 
"It wouldn't do to have a queen without a king, you 
know. Who could be king?" 

"I don't know," said he. 

And then, somehow, there came a pause in their 
conversation. After she had secured her hat, they 
walked together towards the ledge over which Thora 
had come. 

"I must be going," she said; "Papa might be anx- 
ious for me. You will have to help me over again." 

"Of course, I'll help you," and he scrambled nim- 
11\- up the cliffs, reached down for her hand, and soon 
they were perched on the topmost rock, looking down 
the fjord to where her father and another man were 
fishing in a small boat, near the shore. She shouted to 
him, and he waved his hand to her. He saw Harald. 
also, but said nothing to the boy and girl. 

"How beautiful it is up here !" she cried. "Let's 
sit here a few minutes ; I'm quite tired out. Doesn't the 
fjord look blue, today, Harald? Is it because the sky 
is so blue, too? Oh, look there! I can see just a tiny 
bit of the ocean, out there between the islands ! How 
black it looks ! I'm glad I'm not a sailor, aren't you, 
Harald?" 

"I don't know," said the boy, because the truth 
of the matter was that he had lately begun to long for 
the sea and its hidden possibilities. "I've been out be- 



16 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

yond the Three Trolds only once, and then I thought 
it great sport. The waves pitched us about merrily — " 

"And made you sea sick." 

"No, it didn't. It was just fun!" 

"Well, I don't think so — say, Harald, tell me the 
story of the Three Trolds, will you? I do so like to 
hear it." 

It took some coaxing to have him talk the neces- 
sary time needed for the telling of a story, but at last 
he began : 

"Once upon a time, there were three wicked 
Trolds. Trolds, you must know, live only in the dark, 
and cannot stand the light of the sun. Therefore, 
whenever they wish to do anything — and it is generally 
to work some mischief to the human race — they must 
do it in the night time. Well, these three Trolds lived 
away back in the mountains, and were never known 
to visit the sea. Not that the sea had any special ter- 
rors for them, but they were land Trolds, and it is 
said that they often made the earth tremble when they 
were tumbling about too fiercely in their cave-houses 
under the mountains. These three Trolds had a beau- 
tiful princess in their keeping; in fact, they had stolen 
her from a king that lived far across the sea. This 
king had tried many times to rescue his child, and 
many princes had also tested their strength and cour- 
age against the power and craftiness of the Trolds, 
but to no avail ; the princess was still a prisoner. So, 
one day Solus, Prince of the Sun, heard of the doings 
of the wicked Trolds, and he enquired of his father, 
the Sun, the secret of the Trolds' power. He was told 



THE BOY BUILDER. 17 

that these beings loved the evil, and therefore they 
also worked in the dark. If the sunlight could once 
shine upon them, they would lose their power, and in 
some manner be destroyed. With this knowledge, 
Prince Solus set out for the Trolds. Naturally, the 
prince, having the Sun for father, shone with a brilliant 
light; but this he now hid under a thick, dark mantle. 
He managed to make his way to where the princess 
was hidden, and to lead her out of the cave. Many 
other would-be-rescuers had reached so far, but the 
Trolds were very watchful, and so swift that they had 
always re-captured the princess in her efforts to escape. 
Prince Solus laid his plans wisely. It was nearly 
morning when he led the princess out. He had not trav- 
eled far before the Trolds discovered them, and came 
in swift pursuit. Away he sped towards the sea ! He 
was strong and swift, too, but the Trolds were fast 
gaining on him. They bellowed after the prince until 
the hills shook; but he paid no heed. On they went 
until they got to the mountain yonder, that points out 
towards the sea. There the prince stopped, and the 
Trolds yelled in great glee, because they supposed they 
had them now ; but as soon as the pursuers reached the 
promontory and were about to grasp the terrified 
princess, the prince threw off his cloak, and the bright- 
ness of the light which shone from his person blinded 
the Trolds, causing all three to fall off the cliff into the 
sea. Not being accustomed to water, they floundered 
about, and were so nearly drowned that they could not 
make their way back. So there they remained until the 
sun came up, and when its first rays shone upon them, 



18 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

they were turned to stone — and there they are today, 
three rocky islands called the Three Trolds." 

Thora had sat in breathless wonder at the story. 
Harald told the legend as though he believed every 
word ; and. at its close, the girl drew a long breath. 
Then she exclaimed : 

"And did the prince marry the beautiful prino 
and did they live happy ever after?" 

"I don't know," said he ; and he was about to make 
-nine further comment, but he suddenly startled. His 
face turned pale, and he trembled. The girl looked in 
the direction in which his eyes were set, half expecting 
to see an actual Trold making towards them, but all she 
>aw was Harald's father, coming at a rapid pace down 
the hillside. 

"The sheep, the sheep!" whispered the terrified 
bey ; and quickly leaping from the ledge, he ran towards 
his father. They met at the castle of stones. 

"Where are the sheep?" demanded the angry man. 

"O, father, they're just up the hill a little way. I'm 
sure." 

"They are not there, and not a trace of them have I 
seen. Where are they? What have you been doing. 
you lazy lounger, to neglect the sheep? They all may 
be in the sea, for aught you know, you — " 

Then the father caught sight of the little play- 
house . which told the tale plainly. He did not see the 
little L^irl with a frightened face sitting on the rocks 
some rods away. 

"This is what you have been doing, is it you good- 
for nothing! Making play-hoi^e>. instead of herding 



THE BOY BUILDER. 19 

your sheep," and with an oath, the man kicked down a 
wall of the structure. 

"O, father, don't," the boy cried, as he rushed in 
between his angry father's form and the rude hou^ of 
stones. "Don't father, don't knock it down! Beat mr 
if you will, but don't spoil the house !' 

Xot for a moment did the boy think of himself 
He. had given the play-house to Thora. It was hers, 
and he pleaded for her. A son of the Vikings, the 
Viking spirit was but slumbering within the peasant- 
bred boy. It was for the girl that he stood up against 
the wrath of his father. 

The boldness of the boy aroused the man to a 
greater anger. He took him by the arm, flung him up- 
on the sand, and then, with kicks and shoves demolished 
the house. Turning again to the boy, he fiercely shook 
him, until it seemed that every joint in his body must 
have been loosened. Then he threw him on the sand 
again, where the boy lay for a few moments 

"Now, then, get up and find the sheep. If they 
are not brought safely home, this evening, every one of 
them, I'll break every bone in your body. Come, get 
up!" 

The boy arose slowly, steadied himself for a mo- 
ment, as if to get his bearings, and then went limping 
up the hill. The father followed. 

At that moment Merchant Bernhard, fishing ju 
the fjord, heard his little girl give a piercing scream. 
He hurried to her and carried her down. When she 
came to again, he asked her what had frightened her. 

"O, papa," she said faintly, "I don't know whether 
it was Harald's father, or some terrible, wicked Trold !" 



20 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



II. 



CELEBRATION OF HARALD S BIRTHDAY. 

The day had been stormy and wet, so the sheep 
had been penned early. Harald Einersen was doing 
his chores, in the long, summer twilight. He did not 
hurry with his work — there was plenty of time ; the 
Norwegian day, at this time of the year, and at this lat- 
itude, extends far into the hours of night. 

The Gundersen houses, for there were two of them, 
occupied a small clearing on the gently sloping sides of 
the hill, which extended down to the waters of the Li- 
fjord. Part of this clearing was grass-land, and part of 
it was planted to rye and potatoes. Near one of the 
huts was a small vegetable garden, and some goose- 
berry and currant bushes stood in a row from the door 
down to the spring. Some flowering shrubs could also 
be seen by the walls of this hut. The clearing on three 
sides was enclosed by the pine and spruce forest. The 
narrow fjord lay below, across which was another 
sloping hill, with some clearings and log huts upon 
it. Above the slope was a mountain, which reached 
back to other mountains, purple and blue in the dis- 
tance. 

Harald was up in the pines gathering dry twigs f ">r 
the morrow's cooking. Through the dripping pine 



HARALD'S BIRTHDAY. 21 

branches, he could see the clouds scurrying before the 
wind to their rendezvous around the summit of the 
Dovre mountains. The rains had penetrated the sod, 
and the wild odor of wet woods was in the air. But to 
the boy gathering sticks, all this richness of woods and 
mountains, earth and sky, were as if it had never been. 
Not that it was altogether lost to him, for in future 
years, the very essence of it all seemed to find lodgment 
within his soul, and it gave him joy in many a weary 
hour. 

Harald Einersen lived in the hut nearest the woods 
— the one with the flowers by the wall. The flowers 
had been his mother's. She had planted them, and 
had cared for them just a little longer than she had 
cared for him. In that log hut, Harald had been born, 
and there, a few months later, his mother had died. He 
lived there with his grandmother. His father lived in 
"the other house," as Harald always called the dwelling 
across the clearing, on the other side of the spring. 
Harald was the only child of that first wife. His father 
had married again, and he with his wife and four chil- 
dren occupied "the other house." This latter abode was 
a small improvement on the older house wherein 
Harald and his grand-mother lived. When Einer Gun- 
dersen had courted his second wife, she had demurred 
to going into the one-roomed hut to live with his mother 
and Harald ; so, of necessity, the second house had to 
hf> built, and the grandmother was left in the old, with 
Harald to keep her company. 

These were days of extreme scarcity and poverty. 
Sometimes Old Norway, struggling against the disad- 



THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

vantages of soil and climate, failed in supplying her 
children with bread. Then if the winter was severe, 
and the fishing poor, as sometimes happened, it became 
a daily battle for many of the poorer classes to keep 
life in their bodies. Einer Gundersen had a hard strug- 
gle to supply his family with the bare necessities, and, 
to make matters worse, he had a craving for drink, 
which he satisfied as often as he could get money 
enough to buy a bottle of rum. Sometimes, when he 
had work at some neighboring farm house, or obtained 
a job cutting timber in the forest, he would remain 
away from home days at a time after the work was 
over, and then he would come home as poor as when 
he went, but with an added nervousness in his step, and 
with a less fierce and brutal way of whipping his chil- 
dren. During these times, the responsibility of the 
home affairs rested on Harald, and especially the care 
of the small herd of sheep they had in charge for the 
dimmer for Merchant Bernhard. 

The grass was now growing, and the potatoes and 
rye were food in prospective ; but bright prospects 
could not exactly still that painful gnawing in the 
stomach of a growing boy. And oh, the food had been 
a mere pittance during the winter, and. was even 
scarcer now. By the spring stood a barrel full of the 
soft inner bark of the fir tree, ground into flour, and 
placed there to soak out the resinous matter. This 
flour was made into mush and then eaten. Bones were 
chopped and cooked, crushed with a hammer, and 
ground into flour. Out of this, mush and bread were 
made. The tender reindeer moss was also dried and 



HARALD'S BIRTHDAY. 23 

powdered, and even ground rye straw pressed into ser- 
vice as a help to eke out the meagre food supply. 

Harald Einersen was hungrier than ever that ev- 
ening, up there in the woods. Grandmother had been 
away all day — she had gone to Yangen, a distance of 
nine miles, to deliver some knitting, and she had not yet 
returned. If the berries had only been ripe — but it was 
useless to wish, so he munched the tender shoots which 
he picked from the trees, and, gathering up his bundle 
of twigs, trudged homeward. 

He deposited his load under a small shed by the 
side of the house and then went in. With some dry 
wood from yesterday's gathering, he made a fire in the 
stove. This stove, by the way, was made of three old 
pots, with their bottoms knocked out, one placed on 
top of the other, the largest one underneath. One chair 
and a stool, a small pine board table, two rough bed- 
steads — one hidden in a corner by a curtain, a box-like 
cupboard, a small, odd-looking bureau, and a spinning 
wheel, were the chief articles of furniture in the room. 

When Harald had gathered up the last bit of bark 
from his fire-making, grandmother came in. Grand- 
mother could not tolerate rubbish around her stove, so 
she looked approvingly at the boy. She deposited a 
basket on the table, and then, taking the kerchief from 
her head, sat down to rest a few minutes. Grand- 
mother could not walk the nine miles to Yangen and 
back so easily as formerly, therefore she was tired. 

"Well, my boy, I suppose you're hungry," she said. 

Harald cast a side glance towards the basket. 
"Well. I think I am, grandmother." 



24 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Yes; of course you are. God speed the growing 
crops. I saw they are doing well down the road. Have 
you done your work for the night? If not, get it fin- 
ished, and then we'll see what we've got, my boy." 

He went out again. Not that he had much to do, 
but he suspected there would be some cooking, and 
he did not wish to be tantalized by the delicious odors. 
In half an hour his grandmother called, "Come in, my 
boy, come in. I've got something for you — but stay, 
Harald, we are getting greedy. Run over and ask the 
children to come. Poor dears, it's little enough they 
have had this day, I am sure." 

Harald soon came back with his two brothers, 
Holger and Jens, and his little sister, Hulda, whom he 
carried in his arms. They all came noisily into grand- 
mother's house, and then how they stared and sniffed ! 

"Now then, behave yourselves, children, or not a 
mouthful you get," commanded grandmother, as she 
shook the wooden mush ladle at the noisy company. 
"Jens, you stand here, and Holger there, and you, Hul- 
da, you may sit in grandmother's chair. Harald, draw 
up your stool." 

So they all stood or sat around the little board ta- 
ble while grandmother gave each of them a small plate- 
full of steaming mush. 

"Be careful now," she gave them warning, "don't 
be too greedy, and burn your mouths. Take your 
time there, Jens ; you know you haven't any milk to 
cool it with." 

"Oh, how fine !" said Holger. 



HARALD'S BIRTHDAY. 25 

"I believe there's wheat flour in it," remarked 
Jens. 

"Now listen to that!" exclaimed the cook. "He 

believes there is wheat flour in it. I tell you, Jens 

I Einersen, that that mush is made of one half wheat 

flour — the finest to be had in Merchant Bernhardt 

store, too." 

Then there arose a chorus of exclamations and 
expressions of delight and gratification. The children 
took small spoonfulls from the edge of the dainty mass, 
and prolonged the pleasure as long as possible ; but at 
length the last mouthful disappeared. 

"Now, wait a minute," said grandmother, and the 
children became suddenly very quiet. Was there some- 
thing more? What a wonder grandmother was, to be 
sure! Yes; out come a plate, and on it was a pile of 
warm pan-cakes. They were not much larger than the 
top of a tea-cup, and their thickness was nothing to 
boast of, but they were pan-cakes, anyway, and not 
made of bark or bone, but of beautiful white flour ; 
and right in the middle of each cake rested a large 
raisin, surrounded by perhaps a dozen smaller ones 
arranged in a circle. The children could hardly be- 
lieve their eyes, and they said nothing, for fear they 
were not intended for them. 

"Now then," said grandmother, "I am going to 
give each of you one of these cakes. These are made 
of all-wheat flour, and the raisins were given to 
you by little Thora Bernhard. Some day you must 
all thank her for them, as she is a good girl, God 
bless her. Sh — listen! We are celebrating Harald's 



26 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

birthday today. Today he is fourteen years old. Did 
you know that, Harald?" 

"I had forgotten it, grandmother." 

"Yes, I knew you had, so I gave you this sur- 
prise." She chuckled over the success of her plan, 
and Harald indeed looked the happy boy he was at 
that moment. 

The raisins were carefully picked from the cakes. 
The cakes were then dispatched, and the raisins were 
kept, to be minced at leisurely. When the three chil- 
dren had been dismissed grandmother turned to Har- 
ald and said : 

"Harald, I saw you give Hulda most of your 
mush. It was hardly a taste for you, and you r,o 
hungry. Now, it's your birthday, and you must have 
enough to eat for this once. See, I have saved a big 
plate-full for you, and here are some cakes and the 
raisins which Thora sent. She said they were for 
the children, but I knew by the way she talked that 
she wished you to have your full share. She told me 
what happened down by the rocks the other day." 

"O, grandmother," said the boy, and then he 
choked. The tears stood in his eyes. "You haven't had 
any yet," he said. 

"I had a good dinner at Vangen, so I'm not hun- 
gry; but I'll keep you company, anyway!" and she, 
too, took a spoon and ate. 

Outside, the rain had begun again, and the even- 
ing was quite dark. The fire in the pot-stove had 
gone down. Grandmother put more wood in, and 
when it blazed up well, she took away the piece of 



6 

HARALD'S BIRTHDAY. 27 

sheet iron that served for a door, which let the dancing 
light shine into the room. She then drew up her chair 
to the fire, and placed a low stool near it. The boy hav- 
ing finished his supper, the dishes were cleared away. 
Grandmother then got her knitting, and took her seat 
by the stove. 

"Come, my boy," she said, "you need not spin to- 
night." — It had been the custom for Harald to spin 
yarn while she knitted. She did her spinning during 
the day — "Come, sit down by the stove, on this stool 
while I talk to you." 

The boy obeyed. She was both father and mother 
to him. During the fourteen years of his life, he had 
known no other true counselor, no other true friend. 
From her, he had received what he had known of 
kindness ; from her, he had obtained his crude ideas 
of life and the world ; and from that kindly, deeply- 
marked soul, he had drawn his childish dreams and 
boyish ambitions. 

"You are fourteen years old today, Harald. You 
are getting to be quite a man. Fourteen years ago, 
today, — yes, I remember it well." 

Grandmother mused, while the needles pearly 
stopped their click. The boy looked into the fire. 

"And, Harald, my boy, I want you to continue to 
be manly. You haven't had much chance in the world 
yet, but you will have your chances, many of them, and 
I want you to take advantage of them as they come. 

"Your grandfather used to say that he could 
trace his ancestry back to Harald Haarfagre, and he 



28 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

was not a little proud in the boast that he was of the 
ancient royal lineage. £L don't know about that — I 
never took much interest in such matters. I always 
said that it matters very little what our forefathers 
were, but it matters very much what we are ; and 
whether you, my boy, have in you the blood of Vik- 
ing kings, or whether you have not, what you amount 
to will depend upon your own endeavors. I want you 
to remember that, Harald." 

"Yes, grandmother." 

"Your present poverty-stricken condition must 
not daunt you. Your extremely humble beginning 
must not make you discouraged. What credit has he 
who is born into so-called wealth and honor? Of far 
greater worth is your condition, my boy, down here 
at the bottom of the ladder, with energy and heart to 
climb by your own and God's help to the top. Re- 
member, He who became the greatest of all, first be- 
came the humblest and lowliest of all. The whole, vast 
upward region is before you. 

^'But, my boy, in all you do, trust in God. In all 
our trials, and you will have many, see beyond the 
sore present into the blessed future. Your faith must 
never forsake you. God is behind everything, remember 
that.# Outside, the air is dark, and the black clouds 
hang low over the earth, yet if you think a moment 
you will know that out beyond, above the clouds, 
shines unhindered, the glorious sun. So it is with God 
and His providences. * * * * *And now, we 
will read one chapter from the Bible and then go to 
bed. Harald, get it for me/j 



HARALD'S BIRTHDAY. 29 

But Harald did not move, and when the grand- 
mother looked down at him, she saw his tired head 
resting against her knee. The boy was asleep. Not 
that he was disinterested in his grandmother's words, 
for she often talked to him in the same encouraging 
strain, but he was tired, and tonight he had an extra 
plate of mush for supper. 

Grandmother said no more, but ran her ringers 
through the brown hair, smiling to herself. 



30 TI I E CASTLE BUILDER. 



III. 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 

There is a something, a wonderful, self-existing, 
powerful something, within the human soul, which 
training can not eradicate nor environment complete- 
ly crush out; what is it but the spark of eternal fire 
which the human brings with him from the regions of 
celestial space as an heritage from God the Father, a 
fire which serves as a light by which he can read God's 
revelations to him throughout his mortal career. Pity 
the human race without it ! This mystery of godliness 
is as the glint of a golden thread through life's fabric : 
to the child it is given in the love that it cherishes for 
it- rag doll; to the boy, in the joy which he has in the 
possession of a bag of marbles ; to the youth, in the 
sweet hopes of love returned in kind ; to the man, 
in the faith of life eternal. 

It was this occasional revelation of Godlight to 
Harald Einersen which supported him, as it does all of 
us. In the very nature of things, the thinly clad, poorly 
fed boy was very much absorbed in the tasks of keep- 
ing his body warm and satisfying his hunger; but 
for all that, at times his boy-spirit leaped beyond the 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 31 

restraining walls, and roamed freely out into the wond- 
erful and enticing realms of the big world's life. 
Seemingly trifling things touched the magic fire, and 
opened the heavens to him : The call of a bird on a 
summer's morning ; the murmur of the creek ; the roar 
of the waterfall; the sighing of the wind in the tree 
tops ; the sight of a pretty flower ; the reddening of the 
sky; the soft shadows of a departing day — such were 
the magic keys that let him out into the everlasting 
dominion of time and space, and gave into his posses- 
sion all that God has created wherewith to build for 
himself castles of wondrous beauty and grandeur. 

The summer advanced as only a summer in Nor- 
way can. The sun was in the sky for twenty hours or 
more at a time, thus rapidly warmed the earth, and 
making vegetation spring upward as if by magic. Har- 
ald enjoyed the summer. He was out of doors most 
of the time with the sheep ; and he reveled in the wild 
nature around him. Best of all, the season was fav- 
orable to the growing crops. The vegetables in the 
little garden soon became large enough to eat, and, as 
soon as the potatoes were the size of a bird's egg, some 
were dug and made into potato cake. There was yet 
very little flour to be obtained, but the fish had come 
back to the nearby coast, and there had been a good 
spring catch. So, with fish and potatoes, and the ad- 
dition of milk which the new grass brought, the chil- 
dren began to get enough to eat once more. 

Harald received the sum of two dollars for one 
summer's work in herding sheep. This had been his 
salary for three past years ; and how proudly he took 



32 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

the silver coins home, when he had been paid, and 
threw them into his grandmother's lap. This summer, 
it occurred to him that he ought to earn more money. 
The two dollars certainly could not go very far, though 
handled by the very careful grandmother. Lately, 
they had received very little help from his father, and 
grandmother was getting older and not able to work 
so hard. Besides, his own clothing was getting shab- 
by. He sat on a grass bank watching the sheep, 
thinking about these things, one afternoon. The boy's 
shoes were patch upon patch, and he amused himself 
trying to pick out which of the small pieces of which 
the shoe was composed belonged to the original shoe. 
He would also need some new clothing for winter, for 
the long-looked-for day of confirmation would come 
next winter. He must be better dressed on that day, 
at least. As regards his schooling and confirmation, he 
was somewhat behind. The hardships of the past 
winter had prevented him from attending school reg- 
ularly like many of his mates, and so he had failed to 
prepare for the last examination and confirmation, 
when he should have completed his schooling. This had 
hurt the boy, and, as he thought of it now, he resolved 
to study hard and not miss next time. Meanwhile, 
he must earn some more money. 

Just at that moment a trout in the pool into which 
he was looking, came to the surface, whisked its tail 
out of the water as if to say, "Catch me." Harald 
ned to hear it, and said, "I will." Fresh trout 
brought a good price down at Vangen ; why not catch 
some to sell? Having no hook nor line, he took off 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 33 

his shoes and stockings and waded into the shal- 
low creek. He could see half a dozen speckled beau- 
ties darting through the water, and he meant to have 
some of them. First he enclosed the pool with large 
stones, in a way that would allow the water to escape, 
but not the fish. Then he sub-divided the pond into 
smaller divisions, and continued thus until the fish 
were so closely penned that they could be caught with 
the hands. With running after the sheep and this 
work, it took him all the afternoon, but he was reward- 
ed with the possession of four fair-sized trout. 

The boy was all aglow with his success. He had 
his fish nicely strung on a willow, and was speculating 
on how he could get them to a market, when, who 
should come down the path leading across the creek 
but Herr Juel, the schoolmaster. He stopped and 
looked at the boy and his fish, and then saw, by the 
numerous dams in the water, how he had caught them. 

The schoolmaster and Harald were good friends. 
The boy admired the man of great learning, and he 
had a fixed opinion that the schoolmaster could repeat 
every word in the catechism by heart. The school- 
master, also, had much respect for Harald, "the best 
boy in school," when he attended. 

"You caught them, I see, Harald," said Herr 
Juel, who emphatically trilled his r's as every loyal 
Norwegian should. "They will make a fine dinner for 
you." 

"I'm going to sell them, sir." 

"To whom, Harald?" 

"To anybody who will buy. You see," said he as 



34 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

if it had suddenly occurred to him, "you see, I must 
be making money if I am to get ready for school, and 
I mean to be confirmed next winter sure." 

"That's a good resolution, my boy — but how much 
do you ask for your fish?" 

He named a price which, as it was to the school- 
master, was a very low one. Herr Juel paid the boy 
double the amount and took the fish. He was about 
to go on his way when Harald asked : 

"When does school begin again?" 

"Within two weeks," was the reply. 

"I fear that I will be as bad as ever," said the boy, 
"because I can't start then, and I shall be so far be- 
hind again — and you know, the school stays such a 
short time at our house." 

"Nuh," spoke the master, "you're an ambitious 
boy, and we'll see what can be done. Perhaps we can 
arrange to have you go along with the school. I'll not 
forget you, Harald." 

This thought had not occurred to the boy. If 
only he might. The school remained but two days 
last winter at the house where he attended and then 
moved on to the next, and it was a whole week before 
it came back ; but if he could go with the schoolmaster, 
along with the school, he could surely catch up. The 
boy was in a small fever of excitement to get home 
to consult his grandmother about the plan. 

Shortly thereafter, he had another talk with the 
schoolmaster. In fact, Herr Juel came to the house, 
and the three talked it all over ; it was finally arranged 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 35 

that Harald should have all the chances possible for the 
coming year. 

He was very much elated. But the money ques- 
tion continued to worry him. He even thought of 
going down to Vangen and applying to Merchant 
Bernhard for a raise in wages ; but this he did not do, 
for the chief reason that Thora might see him in his 
ragged coat and patched shoes — and, somehow, his 
feelings in this matter had undergone a change in the 
past few months. However, all that summer he kept 
his eyes open for every opportunity to earn money, and, 
before fall, he deposited with his banker — his grand- 
mother — quite a pile of copper and silver coins. 

Harald's father, Einer Gundersen, did not will- 
fully neglect his oldest son, but the fact that the boy 
lived with his grandmother, and that they both seemed 
to get along as well as his wife and other children did, 
led the father to believe that very little of his help was 
needed. Harald scarcely ever went to him for assist- 
ance or advice, so Einer was somewhat surprised, one 
day early in the autumn, to see Harald come to the 
"other house," stepping proudly in a new pair of shoes. 
Einer looked closely at his boy. How big and strong 
and rosy he had become ! and there was his mother's 
wavy hair and blue eyes ; and when he smiled, which he 
now did, the father's heart was touched with a joy 
akin to that first love, long ago. 

"Father, I want to go to school," began the boy 
quite boldly. His new shoes seemed to give him a firm- 
er footing. 

"Well, my boy, of course you'll go to school. Herr 



36 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

Juel told me the other day that he wished me to get 
my largest room ready for the school which will be 
here next week." 

"Yes, but father, I want to go longer than the 
few days it will be kept here. I never will catch up 
if I don't, and I wish to be confirmed this winter. The 
schoolmaster said he would let me go around with him 
wherever he moves the school. Then, sometimes I 
would have to stay away from home nights and — and, 
I could do it if Holger and you would take care of the 
sheep and — and grandmother." 

His father looked at the boy silently. Then Har- 
ald, fearful of a refusal, or perhaps a worse thing if 
his father lost his temper, pushed out a foot and showed 
his new shoe. 

"I've earned and saved money enough during the 
summer to buy a pair of shoes," he said, "and grand- 
mother is making me clothes which my wages will 
pay for. So you see, I'll look about as well as any of the 
boys." 

"You'll not only look as well, but you'll do as well, 
too, my boy. We'll see what can be done for you to 
help you out." 

The following weeks, Harald worked unceasingly 
to get ready for his school. There were many things 
to do, the greatest of which was to provide wood for 
his grandmother's pot stove. He worked early and 
late at his woodpile, and as he worked, his castle of 
learning arose in beauty before him. Yes, he would 
not be satisfied with confirmation, but would go on 
to the high school at Vangen, and then who could tell 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 37 

— he might be able to go to the Seminary at Trond- 
hjem, or even to the University at Christiania ! Surely, 
then, he would be as wise as the schoolmaster or even 
Herr Ingman, the priest. 

Harald received his chance. His father was to 
feed the sheep, when Harald would be away ; but Hol- 
ger had also been converted to the plan, since the fath- 
er, though he meant ever so well, could not be depend- 
ed upon. The school came to their district with the 
first snowfall of the season ; but he did not care for 
the snow or cold now. His woolen stockings and 
leather shoes kept his toes warm, and he told his grand- 
mother he could not be cold in his new suit of home- 
spun. 

It did not take Harald Einersen long to stand 
number one in his class, and he kept that position easily 
all the winter, though at one time he thought he would 
lose it. That was when his grandmother became sick, 
and, as his father was away on a bout, the boy had to 
stay at home for a week ; but he made good use of his 
vacation, as the woodpile grew large again, and he 
studied his lessons in the evenings. During that week 
he was also quite lucky with his traps and snares in the 
woods, catching a good many wild fowls which always 
brought a good price in the market at Vangen. 

His principal studies at school were arithmetic, 
geography, a little history — much of it told by the 
master, Bible history and the catechism. Most of the 
time was spent on the religious branches, supposedly, 
on the grounds that they were the hardest and most 
important. Harald agreed with the first proposition, 



38 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

but could hardly see the wisdom of the second. The 
catechism consisted of questions and answers of the 
< "hristian religion as propounded by Lutheran divines. 
Though exceedingly dry to him, he managed to commit 
to memory most of the book. He could not be con- 
firmed without this knowledge, so he went at it with a 
will. He liked his mathematics, and was quick at solv- 
ing problems. His Bible was interesting reading as 
it was, but when it was chopped up into questions and 
answers, it lost its vitality to the boy. 

As the winter advanced, Harald took his turn with 
the other boys and girls and went to Pastor Ingman 
once each week to be examined on the progress made 
in their religious training, as the pastor supervised 
this branch of the young people's education. Some 
who were eighteen years old, were yet going to the 
pastor. These were the dullards, who could not "get 
religion into their heads," hence could not be con- 
firmed, and, until they were confirmed they were yet a 
sort of heathen. 

Harald preferred going to school than to the 
priest's. The schoolmaster understood him, but the 
priest was cold and very formal in his instructions, and 
Harald often begrudged the two-mile walk to the par- 
sonage. However, he never failed to answer correct- 
ly the priest's questions, and he stood number one at 
the priest's also, as well as at the school. 

That was a happy winter for Harald, and when 
the spring came again he felt strong and ready for any 
test. As he got high marks in his examination he 
went to the priest the last time before confirmation 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 39 

without fear of the results. That day he was to carry 
away the number of the position he was to occupy in 
the class on the day of confirmation, which was to be 
the Sunday following. He had hopes that he would 
still stand at the head. He had certainly worked for 
it. When the names were read out, number one was 
not Harald Einersen, neither number two nor three. 
All these belonged to some boys of well-to-do parents 
— Harald's was number four. When he heard it, 
his face burned with indignation. He had surely done 
better than any of the three boys ahead of him. He 
looked at the priest to see if there had not been a mis- 
take, but there was no recognition in the pastor's eye. 
Even the boys, when outside, were quiet, as if some- 
thing not altogether right had happened. Harald got 
home as soon as possible ; and that evening he told his 
grandmother what had happened. 

"I can't go to confirmation next Sunday, grand- 
mother," he said. "It will be such a disgrace. I who 
have been at the head all the time now to stand num- 
ber four. O, grandmother, why did he do it?" 

"Hush, my boy, of course you'll go next Sunday. 
Number four is not bad ; there will be a great many 
lower than that. After all, what does it amount to, 
where you stand in the row. Remember that God 
looks at your true qualifications and will see you at 
number four as well as at number one. The ceremony 
is between yourself and your God, and not between 
you and the priest." 

"But it's so hard to be disappointed." 

"It may be hard for some boys, Harald, who have 



40 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

not done their best, but for you it should not be." 

So with her soothing talk, Harald was quieted, 
and he promised to go through the ordeal with a stout 
heart. 

Confirmation Sunday came warm and clear, with 
just enough wind to blow the boats on the fjord mer- 
rily to the church. Some of the farmers drove in their 
carts, but Harald walked with his grandmother, who 
would go, though she was not strong. 

The church was situated three miles down the 
fjord towards Vangen. Some boys and girls from 
that small sea port were also to be confirmed that day. 

As the ceremony of confirmation is a red-letter day 
in the lives of the young, there were many people out. 
The church was crowded. Two rows of seats had been 
arranged, one on each side of the large center aisle, 
and on these the boys and girls who were to be con- 
firmed were seated. The girls sat on one side, the boys 
on the other, according to their grade number, number 
one being towards the altar. Harald mechanically took 
his seat in his place. His grandmother sat directly 
opposite him on the regular seats, and he could see 
many people whispering in surprise to her. The boys 
had on their best, which with one or two exceptions 
was not very fine. The girls were now at the magic 
point where the change from childhood to maiden- 
hood takes place. They were therefore allowed to 
wear their dresses long, and their hair done up in coils. 

Harald did not see much that was going on around 
him until a girl came in, walked up the aisle, and took 
the vacant seat at the head of the girl's row. Then 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 41 

he gave a little start, and his face turned a little paler. 
He had not known that Thora Bernhard was to be 
confirmed that day. But was that tall girl in a black 
dress Thora? Harald hardly dared to look across to 
make sure. Yes ; the hair was combed smoothly over 
the white forehead, and although she seemed so tall, 
it was certainly Thora. And there he was sitting in 
number four instead of opposite her, at number one. 
He had not courage to look up. The opening services 
were long and pc.inful, and when they were all told to 
stand, Harald sa / Thora looking at him. She seemed 
somewhat surprised at the tall, broad-shouldered boy, 
and Harald was sure that there was a look of dis- 
appointment in her face when she comprehended his 
position. Then the priest began to ask the usual cate- 
chisation as a public test of their religious knowledge. 
Harald answered his questions accurately, but as the 
priest went on down the line the boy's attention did 
not go with him. It rather strayed to the pale face 
at the head of the opposite row. Then the priest spoke 
some impressive words to the young people on the im- 
portance of living a good Christian life. They would 
now be held responsible for their own conduct, and he 
hoped the religious instructions they had received 
would be of great aid to them in the battle against the 
evil in the world. Many of the boys and girls cried, 
but Harald did not. He gave the usual assent to the 
priest's questions whether he would "forsake the devil 
and all his works." 

Harald was glad that it was all over. The occa- 
sion was solemn enough to many minds, but to Har- 



42 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

aid that day, it was rather more painful than impres- 
sive. Outside the church, his grandmother whispered 
to him, "You stood it well, my boy," but Harald had 
a hard time to keep the lump in his throat from chok- 
ing him. Then when he overheard some of the boys 
telling what valuable presents their parents had given 
the priest, he could stand the presence of people no 
longer, so he urged his grandmother to go home with 
him. 

The afternoon sun was sinking low in the north- 
western heavens when the two trudged through the 
short-cut forest path to their home in the clearing. The 
trees cast long shadows ; the wind moaned in the 
branches ; the birds ceased their singing. Grandmother 
had to sit down and rest, once in awhile. On any 
other occasion Harald would have hunted for wild 
flowers, but this afternoon he sat down beside the tired 
woman, seemingly as tired as she. 

Then as they came down the hill into the main- 
traveled road again, they heard the rattle of a cariole 
coming towards them up the road. Harald turned and 
saw that it was Merchant Bernhard and his daughter. 
As they came up, they stopped, and Thora, scraping 
the soil from the wheel with her gloved hand, leaned 
over and said to the boy: 

"I'm sure it was not fair, Harald. I think you 
should have been number one." 

That was all. Grandmother courtesied and mur- 
mured her thanks. Harald said nothing; neither did 
the merchant. He smiled, and then drove on. 

The sun was nearly behind the hills now, but the 



SCHOOLING AND CONFIRMATION. 43 

world had suddenly been flooded with a beautiful light. 
The wind changed from a moan to a melting melody. 
The birds all came out and sang their sweetest songs. 
The boy was tired no more, but could have walked all 
the way back again without resting. Even grand- 
mother revived, and did not complain of the ache in 
her back. They walked on in silence. Then, the boy 
took his grandmother by the hand and looking into 
her wrinkled face said : 

"Never mind, grandmother, I'll stand first yet, 
even though I had no fat goose to give to the priest." 



44 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



IV. 



ALONG THE COAST TO THE LAND OF ICE AND SNOW. 

If there was one form of out door exercise that 
Harald Einersen enjoyed more than another, it was to 
climb to the top of some high elevation that he might 
stand and look out over the surrounding view. It 
was often a hard task to scale some of the highest peaks 
around the Lifjord, but that wonderful feeling of ex- 
pansion which his soul experienced when the summit 
had been reached, amply paid for the exertion. So, 
this afternoon, when there was a pause in the chopping, 
which seemingly would last all the remainder of the 
day, Harald, instead of taking it easy as the other chop- 
pers were doing, resolved to walk up through the pines 
to the top of a nearby ridge that he might gaze on what 
lay beyond. He was always saying to himself that he 
wished to see ''what was just beyond." 

Harald cut a stout birch cane, and left the group of 
men lying on the grass, smoking their pipes. He also 
was a chopper this summer, the third year after his 
confirmation, and was now out with his father in the 
woods. This work had helped to make a strong, man- 
like fellow out of him, and he now presented as hand- 
some a picture as one would wish to see. With his cap 
in his hand, and his red shirt open at the throat, he met 



ALONG THE COAST. 45 

the steep grade with a firm step, and in half an hour 
he stood on a ledge of rock from which he could get 
the desired view. On one side extended the pine-clad 
hills ; and on the other side, at his feet, lay the ocean. 
He had never seen such a large stretch of the ocean 
before, nor had he ever seen it in such a phase as now. 
He sat down with his face turned towards it. 

The sea was like glass ; in the distance, it shone 
like a huge mirror spread out over the earth. Some is- 
lands lay out against the horizon, but they seemed to 
be lifted up into the air, swimming in a hazy atmos- 
phere of warm, golden color. Sea and sky blended 
into one. If a white cloud sailed through the blue of 
the sky, the sea also did its best to follow with a chang- 
ing patch of white. When the air gently stooped to ca- 
;s the sea. ripples of joy danced upon its bosom. 

The young man lay quietly, permitting the whole, 
sweet harmony of the elements to enter his heart ; 
and then this spiritual elixir penetrated into some inner- 
most recess of his soul, touching a secret spring. Ah. 
the Viking blood stirs within him ; sluggishly at first, 
then swifter and swifter, until at last his whole body 
tingles. The Sea calls, and he answers. The Wind 
greets him and he knows its voice. The Waves come 
rolling towards him ; they must stop on the strand be- 
low, but he hears them, and understands their message. 
"I will come to thee, I will come to thee," he whispers, 
as if he were speaking to a shy maiden at his side. 
Then, as he gazes and dreams, an ancient Viking fleet 
seems to sail before him. The long, open boats, each 
with its one square sail filled with wind, comes gliding 
into the scene one by one, until the whole wide expanse 



46 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

is dotted with them. Each ship has a red shield at the 
prow, a sign of war, and each vessel is filled with war- 
riors whose battle-axes and spears glisten in the sun. 
Then the whole fleet seems to sail slowly into the dis- 
tance, and Harald's heart is drawn out with the de- 
parting boats, until at last when they disappear behind 
the horizon, the young man leaps to his feet as if he 
would follow the departing Vikings, to take part in the 
raids they had planned against some southern shore. 

The sound of ringing axes came up from below. 
Harald shook himself as if to be free from some 
charmed power, and then, springing down the hillside, 
betook himself to work again ; but that same afternoon 
he made up his mind to accept the invitation his 
Uncle Erik had sent him to come to Nordland and join 
him in his trip to the fishing grounds of Lofoten, the 
coming winter. 

Einer Gundersen had no objection to Harald's 
going to Xordland. There was small opportunity for 
a young man of Harald's disposition in or around Up- 
dal, and at Lofoten there was always a chance of doing 
something profitable. Harald, of course, counseled with 
his grandmother about it. Holger was now the herder, 
and stayed with his grandmother when Harald was 
away ; and the old lady enjoyed better health than she 
had for years. 

"Yes, my boy," she had said to him, "I don't see 
why you shouldn't go. You are a big, strong boy, and 
I believe as true as you are strong. I think I can trust 
you now. I think I can trust you to do right under 
all circumstances, and T do not see why you should not 
>ur chances in life. P>ut Xordland and Lofoten 



ALONG THE COAST. 47 

is a hard life, and you know you are not much of a 
sailor." 

"It's not hard to learn, I hope, such a trifle as that, 
grandmother !" 

So it was satisfactorily arranged, and Uncle Erik 
sent him money enough to pay his fare to Sandstad. 

It was in the latter part of August when he was 
ready. He was to go early that he might take part in 
some summer fishing before he should go to the more 
strenuous life at Lofoten. 

On the morning of his departure, the whole house- 
hold was astir. Little Hulda cried when her father 
lifted Harald's little wooden box to carry it down to 
the landing; therefore, Harald lifted her on to his 
shoulders and bore her down, while the rest of the 
family followed. They all tried to appear pleased, but 
it was useless to try to conceal the deep emotions under 
which they were laboring. This was Harald's first long 
trip away from home, and there was no telling what 
might befall him ere he returned — and he might never 
return at all — the sea is such a cruel thing to deal with. 
The step-mother, whom Harald had so often of late 
helped and comforted, took the parting quite to heart, 
and there were tears in the eyes of the father when he 
pressed Harald's hand and said : 

"Goodby, my son ; be a good boy, and — and, don't 
drink, Harald ; shun liquor as you would the very gates 
of hell. Fishermen are rough, and they drink much, 
but don't you do it, Harald ; that's a father's last words 
to you, should he never see you again !" 

Even Harald joined in the general sobbing — all 
but grandmother — she smiled still. 



48 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Goodby, Harald," she said, as she patted one 
cheek and kissed the other, "God bless you, and bring 
you safe Jiome again." 

Harald jumped into his boat, and, seizing the oars, 
was soon speeding down the fjord. They all stood on 
the bank waving their hats and handkerchiefs until a 
projecting bank hid them from his sight. 

It was a good half day's row down the fjord to 
Yangen, but Harald did not wish the distance shorter 
that morning. He wished to take a good last look at 
the familiar scenes of mountain, dell and water, where- 
in he had herded his sheep, picked berries, and fished 
for the wily trout. Just down that beautiful, grassy 
slope, one summer day, with some other boys, he re- 
membered having rolled old man Hansen's grind stone. 
What a beautiful sight it had been, and what a fearful 
splash it made as it bounded into the deep waters of 
the fjord! He also remembered how much money the 
boys had been compelled to obtain to buy a new one. 
Here also was the cosy nook under the crags where 
he had become so interested in castle building that he 
had neglected his sheep. Just on that ledge, Thora had 
sat, and he had lifted her down. What a wee, slender 
thing she had been, and now — why the last time he 
had seen her, she had appeared so like a grown young 
lady that he had not dared to speak to her. 

The boat glided smoothly towards Vangen. The 
rower must have reached beyond the region of his 
boyhood resorts, for now his thoughts were not so 
much with hill and vale as with the face and form of a 
pale girl who looked so much like a young woman. 

Harald tied his boat at the wharf where the steam- 



ALONG THE COAST. 49 

er was to touch. He had an hour yet to wait. Asking 
a ferryman at the wharf to keep an eye on his boat un- 
til his father should come after it, he stolled up the 
business street of the little town. 

He intended to buy a few articles for his journey, 
but was a little nervous about going to Merchant Bern- 
hard's, his usual place of business ; why, he scarcely 
knew. He would like to say goodby to Thora, but 
somehow there was an unusual fear about it, so he 
walked by the store without looking in. "How silly I 
am getting!" he said to himself. "Thora doesn't work 
in the store. What's the matter with me, anyway? 
Thora is a rich merchant's daughter — I am a sheep- 
herder — a wood-chopper." Turning suddenly, he went 
into the store and made his purchases. 

Now the nearest way to the steamboat landing was 
directly down the street again, but Harald had an 
abundance of time, so he decided to take a stroll an- 
other way, that thereby he might pass a white-painted 
house, set back in a large grass patch, — the Bernard res- 
idence. It was a beautiful place, and it would do no 
harm to take a last look at it. He saw Thora the mo- 
ment he turned the corner. She was at work in the 
garden, and, just as he passed the gate, she spied him. 
Her straw hat was lying on the grass, and she had a 
small flower-shovel in her hand. When she saw Har- 
ald coming, she pushed the hair from her eyes, and 
said: 

"Good day, Harald. You are just in time to help 
me. I was just wishing some one would come along to 
assist me with this flower. I want to carry it into the 
conservatory. Won't you help me ?" 



50 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

rushing the little gate open, Harald went in. He 
took the tub containing the plant, and lifted it up to his 
shoulder, saying: 

"Tell me where to put it." 

"Oh, but I wanted to help you !" she exclaimed. 
He laughed, walked across the grass to the glass-cov- 
ered house at the side of the dwelling, and put his bur- 
den down in the spot directed. 

"Now, you'll excuse me if I run away so hurried- 
ly," he said. "I mustn't miss the steamer.' 

"Are you going away?' 

"Yes; up to Xordland, to Uncle Erik's. Goodby/' 
and he held out his hand. 

"Well, I didn't know you were going so far. — 
Well — there's plenty of time — the steamer's always 
late — thank you for your help, Harald ; goodby," and 
she shook his hand. 

He hurried away and down to the landing, wishing 
the steamer would come. It was past due now. He 
had taken his box and the basket containing his lunch 
on to the pier, and was now pacing back and forth. 
Ten minutes, twenty minutes passed, then he heard the 
steamer's whistle, down the fjord. Coming up to the 
wharf, it lay there fully fifteen minutes longer, while 
the men leisurely unloaded a few boxes, and took on 
board other articles of freight. 

Stowing his box safely away in a corner between 
1 larald went up again ; just as the men were get- 
ting ready to throw ofT the ropc^, he beheld Thora 
Bernhard coming down the pier. Seeing him at the 
railing she walked up the gang plank and handed him 



ALONG THE COAST. 51 

a small basket, saying, "This is for your lunch, Harald 
— goodby." Then she stood on the wharf waving her 
hand to him. He thought he saw a soft color of red 
in each pale cheek, as the steamer took him farther and 
farther down the opening waters of the fjord. 

That day he saw some of the wonders of Norway's 
coastline scenery. Hour after hour, the steamer plowed 
its way through the maze of fjords and sounds, whose 
still, deep waters, protected by the outlying islands 
from the rough winds and waves of the ocean, reflected 
in its surface the gray of the barren mountains. Every 
few hours, the steamer headed up some fjord, stopping 
at some small town consisting often of but a few 
houses huddled together under a mountain wall. Then 
back again, and in and out of channels so narrow that 
a stone could be thrown to either side. Harald kept on 
deck most of the time, but when evening came, he 
went down to his box where the heat from the engine 
was not uncomfortable. 

The next morning the steamer lay in the wharf at 
the city of Trondhjem, and since it would be some 
hours before it sailed, Harald walked up into the 
city. He was much interested in what he saw, this 
being the first time he had been in a large city. Espe- 
cially was he interested in its ancient cathedral, of 
which he had read, and to which Norway's kings come 
to be crowned. 

In the afternoon the steamer plowed on again. 
That night they left the still waters of a protected fjord 
to get out into the open sea to round a headland. The 
boat pitched quite lively, but Harald stood it well. In 



52 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

the morning they were again behind some islands, only 
now and then catching a glimpse of the sea through the 
openings between two islands. 

The youth seemed to be getting a long way from 
home ; yet he enjoyed the journey greatly. There was 
so much to see that was new to him, while the grand 
scenery appealed forcibly to his nature. As the steam- 
er crept on northward, he beheld the change in the 
country and saw that the green spots of earth became 
fewer and smaller as they came nearer the land of per- 
petual ice and snow. The air, also, became keen, es- 
pecially at night, and now and then he caught a glimpse 
of newly fallen snow on the summits of mountains to- 
wards the north. Then, life on board was full of 
oddities, and there were many strange people whose 
ways and talk were entertaining to the inexperienced 
boy. 

His lunch baskets were getting low. Of course he 
had not waited long to inspect the basket given him 
by Thora, and he had found it to contain a liberal sup- 
ply of fine wheat bread, buttered, and laid with slices 
of cheese and sausage. Then there was a small honey- 
cake, and a piece of smoked salmon. These dainties he 
had kept as a dessert to his usual meal of rye bread and 
coffee, eating sparingly of them that they might prolong 
his pleasure. But the third day out, the larger basket 
was empty, and the smaller one contained but one piece 
of cake. Sandstad was to be reached that evening, and 
Haralrl thought he would be able to manage until he 
arrived there. Buying meals at the steamer's dining- 
table was beyond his purse ; so he nibbled at his cake. 



ALONG THE COAST. 53 

It was certainly genuine honey-cake, and not the cheap 
imitation made from molasses, such as was sold at the 
booths at the markets. He could taste the flavor of 
honey in it. "I wish there were more of it," he mused. 
'T wonder if Thora baked it herself." He had heard 
that Thora was an excellent cook, and could make all 
kinds of dainty things. ''Hallo, I believe there is an- 
other piece left. Strange I did not see it before. Wrap- 
ped up in a separate piece of paper, and crushed, too, 
all out of shape. What a shame !" 

He lifted the small package from the bottom of 
the basket, took off the double wrapping of paper, and 
in his hand lay, not a piece of honey-cake, but a rose — 
a large, beautiful, red rose, now crushed and quite 
withered. Harald was standing, at the time, down 
near the engine room, but the smell from the machinery 
seemed to stifle him, and so he made his way up on 
deck. He put the rose in his coat pocket, and went to 
the extreme point of the vessel's prow, where he could 
be alone. Then he took the flower out and smelled its 
fragrance. Tenderly he turned it over, and a few de- 
tached petals dropped to the deck. He picked them up 
again. What did it mean? Had Thora intentionally 
put it there. There could be no doubt of that, as the 
same kind of paper had enwrapped the cake and the 
rose. He looked at it for a long time, then carefully 
enfolded it between the leaves of a note book, and 
placed that in an inner pocket of his jacket. 

He leaned over the railing, and watched the white 
wave spreading out from the steamer's prow. The sun 
sank in the north-west,and a path of golden light reached 



54 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

from the horizon to the vessel. The sublime solitude 
of a northern fjord brooded over all, and the silence 
seemed broken only by the rythmical turning of the 
steamer's propeller. Suddenly the hoarse whistle 
belched forth the signal for Sandstad. Boats now 
came out to meet them, and Harald hurriedly carried 
his baggage up on deck. The boats lay alongside, while 
an iron door was opened in the side of the steamer, out 
of which he stepped. 

"Is that you, Harald?" shouted a big, red-bearded 
man, whom Harald took to be his uncle Erik. 

"Yes," answered Harald. 

"All right, jump in. Anything else? Heave your 
box in. Be careful, boy ; our boat dances like a cork." 

Then they shoved away, the steamer went on its 
course, and Uncle Erik pulled with long, steady strokes 
towards the shore. 



HOME LIFE IN THE XORTH. 55 



V. 



HOME LIFE IN THE FAR XORTH. 

Sandstad consisted of a score or more houses 
grouped on the small, level area where a valley opened 
out upon Lundfjord. A stream came dashing down 
the valley from a small lake not half a mile from the 
sea. The mountains all about were high and steep. 
That which Harald had often called "the everlasting 
pine forest'' was here absent. Not one tree could be 
seen anywhere, but over the hillsides were patches of 
white-birch, willows, and brush. 

Erik Svensen's house stood a few rods up from 
the strand. It was two stories high, boarded, ana 
painted white. The side of the roof towards the sea 
was covered with wooden shingles, but the side away 
from the direction of storms and winds was covered 
with a green sod. All the houses were of one general 
type, save that some showed the bare logs and were 
devoid of paint. 

Uncle Erik rowed up to the landing by the boat- 
house. The two leaped out, and the boat was drawn 
upon the sand. Shouldering his box, Harald followed 
his uncle to the house, where he was kindly received by 
his aunt Karen and his cousin Dagmar, a fair-haired, 
rosy-cheeked girl of sixteen. A number of other cousins 



56 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

were married and lived at other places on the island. 

True to the Norwegian custom, the first thing that 
Harald must do was to eat. There was a whispered 
consultation between Dagmar and her mother, and then 
a white cloth was spread over the table. China dishes, 
knives, forks, spoons, and, in fact, all the table settings 
were displayed that Harald occasionally had seen at the 
home of some well-to-do farmer, in his own locality. 
Harald sat by the tall, square stove in the corner, in 
which a slow turf fire was burning, and watched with 
much interest Dagmar at work. Soon the table was 
set, and Harald must at once eat, while Dagmar served 
him. He was not naturally timid, but, this being the 
first time he had thus been so much honored, he found 
it somewhat difficult to act properly. He was hungry 
from his day's fast, but he could eat scarcely half of 
the bowl of clabber milk which Dagmar had prepared 
by sprinkling sugar and cake crumbs over the thick 
cream. Then there were the delicious, crisp flad brod, 
(dry, thin, flat bread) the fresh cod, the cold potatoes, 
and coffee. 

"Now you must eat, Harald," urged his aunt. 
"You have had a long journey, and I know you must 
be hungry. You are quite welcome to our poor fare. 
We haven't much cooked today, but I hope you'll make 
out a meal." Thus the good aunt talked and urged, un- 
til Harald could eat no more, when she reluctantly let 
him get up from the table. 

Soon Uncle Erik and some hired helpers came in. 
The table was reset, the white table cloth being taken 
off, and a large dish of mush being placed before each 



HOME LIFE IN THE NORTH. 57 

person. The mush was eaten, each spoonful being 
dipped into a cup of milk, placed by each plate — more to 
cool it than as a part of the dish. 

After supper, the men lighted their pipes, and soon 
the room was rilled with smoke. It nearly stifled Har- 
ald, as he was not accustomed to such an atmosphere, 
but he had to bear it, while he was kept busy answer- 
ing the many questions about the folks down at OpdaV 
Dagmar sat in the farther corner of the room with her 
knitting, and Harald saw her as through a haze, and 
he wondered how she could endure breathing the thick 
tobacco smoke. 

After an hour or more of conversation, Aunt 
Karen came to his rescue, declaring that he must be 
tired. She led him up stairs to his room, and, placing 
the lamp on a little table, bade him good night. When 
she had gone, Harald looked in wonder about the room. 
The walls and ceiling were boarded and painted. The 
floor was also painted. There was a table with a fancy 
cloth on, a bureau with a glass hanging over it, and 
some spindle-legged, straight-backed chairs, so frail- 
looking that he was afraid to sit on them. On the bed 
were two down mattresses, of which he knew only this, 
that he must sleep between them. The top one must have 
been made of the genuine eider-down, since it puffed 
up as if it had been filled with air when he moved it. 
It was difficult for him to go to sleep that night, tired 
though he was. Thoughts of Opdal would come : how 
he was resting snugly between soft, warm down, while 
poor grandmother was sleeping as usual on her bed c f 
sheepskins. Grandmother ought to live in such a room, 



58 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

and sleep in such a bed as he was in ! As she got older, 
her bones would ache more — and then, he wondered if 
Holger would provide her with plenty of wood. His 
first money should go to grandmother, and — yes, if God 
would give him strength and prosper his efforts, grand- 
mother should yet have comfort in her old age. 

Harald found that life in Nordland was quite dif- 
ferent from what it was farther south. Even the lan- 
guage was spoken with a peculiar accent, making it dif- 
ficult to understand some of the older people. The short 
summer was drawing to a close, and every man, woman 
and child that could be spared was out in the fields gath- 
ering the precious harvest of barley and potatoes ; so 
his help came timely to overworked Uncle Erik. The 
barley had yielded well that summer, and the land had 
been favored with a few days of bright, sunny weather, 
so that the sheaves could be gotten dry to the barn. The 
potatoes seemed unusually small to him, but he was told 
that they were quite large for Nordland. He and Dag- 
mar did nearly all the potato harvesting, he digging up 
the potatoes with a heavy pointed hoe, while Dagmar 
gathered them into sacks. 

The strangeness of associating with a girl instead 
of with boys, as he had done all his previous life, soon 
wore away, and the two cousins became good com- 
panions. Dagmar was somewhat proud of her strong, 
good-looking cousin, and it was not long before she ac- 
quainted him with most of the people at Sandstad. The 
Sunday rest was used to advantage. There was no 
church in their village, but usually some traveling 
preacher held services in the schoolhouse ; nearly ev~ 



HOME LIFE IN THE NORTH. 59 

erybody attended, no matter to what denomination the 
preacher belonged. 

After the rush of harvest was over, there were still 
a few days of pleasant weather, and so Dagmar fulfilled 
a promise to take Harald across the fjord to visit a 
married sister. The sky was free from clouds that 
morning, but the breeze came steadily from the sea, 
filling the one square sail which Dagmar herself lifted 
half way up the mast. 

"You are a landsman, a farmer," she laughingly 
said to Harald ; "you sit still on the seat, and let me 
manage the boat." Then she went to the tiller and seat- 
ed herself by it, laughing merrily at him. She was a 
picture worth looking at, too, in her snug-fitting gray 
flannel dress, her round, rosy face beaming with smiles 
from the folds of the silken kerchief around her head. 
"I'll let you help me," she continued. "Just raise the 
sail a little, will you? I think we can stand a little 
more. There, that will do for the present ; we'll see 
how it blows, when we get farther out." 

Harald enjoyed the sail. To lounge on his seat, 
with nothing to do but to watch the porpoises make 
their graceful dives, and to feel the boat, as it gently 
rose and fell over the waves, was a new and novel sen- 
sation to the young man. Soon they rounded a huge ; 
steep cliff, from which thousands of birds flew scream- 
ing over their heads. Then the boat was headed straight 
across the fjord to the opposite shore, which soon arose 
steep and frowning from the green water. 

They landed at the base of a high mountain, where 
a small cove made a tiny harbor. Into this enclosure 



60 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

a waterfall came tumbling from an opening in the rocky 
height. On one side were a few square rods of com- 
paratively level land, and on this, close up to the cliffs, 
stood the fishermen's huts. A boat house stood near 
the water, and a stone pier made it easy to land. As 
they walked up the path, Harald thought, "What a 
neat, cosy place to live — lonesome though, especially 
when the sea rolls high." Not a soul came to meet 
them. Usually, either child or dog, or perhaps both, 
made a great commotion when Aunt Dagmar came to 
see them. It was explained when they found the house- 
wife at work in the bake house mixing bread, and mak- 
ing great stacks of dough ready for the baking; the 
two children were fast asleep; and the dog was away 
on the other side of the island with Johan, the hus- 
band. 

Cousin Maria was very much like her sister in 
looks. She was pleased to meet Harald, of whom she 
had heard. She could not shake hands because of the 
dough, and kissing is out of the question with Nor- 
wegian kinsfolks. 

"You are just in time, Dagmar," said her sister, 

"to help us with the baking tonight. Johan will soon 

b° back, and we'll begin right away. Johan is prepar- 

ng to go south with a boat-load of fish, and he must 

have provisions. And here's Harald, he can help, too." 

"I'm always pleased to be of assistance," said he. 

"You talk !" exclaimed Dagmar. "Harald is one of 
those good-for-nothing southerners, you know. What 
does he know about baking bread?" 

The visitors were led into the main living room, 



HOME LIFE IN THE NORTH. 61 

and the noise awoke the two children — a boy of two, 
and a girl of five — who took kindly to Aunt Dagmar, 
but were shy of the strange man. A shining, copper 
coffee pot was placed on the stove, and Maria spread 
the table for a lunch. Then Johan came in and was in- 
troduced. He was a typical Norse fisherman — a big. 
broad-shouldered man with light, curly hair and beard, 
ruddy face, and blue eyes. Harald liked him at once. 
He was such an open-hearted, merry soul, that it did 
not take Harald long to become acquainted with him. 

As they sat around the table sipping their coffee 
through the lumps of sugar, Harald noticed the in- 
terior furnishings of the fisherman's house. It was net 
what he would call "fine," yet it was cosy. It had the 
usual painted ceiling, but the walls were papered. I iie 
floor was as white and clean as if the pine boards had 
newly come from the planing mill. The covering on 
the folded-up bed, in the corner, was pure white. The 
heating stove shone with new blacking. The two small 
windows were filled with flowers — geraniums, fuchias, 
and myrtles. It was, in reality, a warm home-nest in 
the dreary wilds of that northern land. 

Then all hands went to the baking. A birch-wood 
fire was made in the big, open fire-place of the bake- 
house. The dough was placed on one end of a long 
table, and was then moulded into long rolls. Dagmar 
divided these, with one cut of her knife, into pieces 
about the size of an egg, which she passed along to 
Maria at the other end of the table. This piece of 
dough Maria placed under her rolling pin, and roiled 
into a round sheet the thickness of cardboard. By this 



62 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

time the fire had well heated a large, round iron plate, 
set on three legs, over the fire, and Johan begai his 
work. With a broad, flat, wooden paddle, he lifted tne 
thin dough on to the hot plate, let it bake for a mom i;t, 
then turned it over, and then in another moment threw 
it on to the floor, which had previously been spread 
with clean cloths. This, when thoroughly dried, was 
the flad brod of the country. 

Harald entered merrily into the work, trying his 
hand at all the processes. The rolling of the dough 
into strips' was not difficult, and he could cut off the 
proper amount; but the rolling of this lump into the 
required thinness, without breaking it, was a trick he 
could not so easily master; and when he tried the bak- 
ing part, he either burned his hands, or the paddle, 
or the bread. The others enjoyed his experiments, and 
laughed lustily at his failures. 

Night came on, black outside, but the blaze from 
the fire lighted up the bake-house with a ruddy glow. 
For hours, they worked, until the pile on the floor grew 
high, and the dough was exhausted. Then they all 
went to bed, well tired out. 

The next afternoon saw Harald and Dagmar out 
on the fjord, homeward bound. He had enjoyed his 
visit very much, and meant to have more of the com- 
pany of cousins Johan and Maria. How happy they 
were, with their cosy home, their children, and their 
love for each other ! The picture appealed strongly to 
him. He had known nothing of such home content- 
ment and happiness. Would he ever know? Would 
he ever be a partaker of such love? Certainly no hu- 



HOME LIFE IN THE NORTH. 63 

man being could ask for more than Johan Bernsen had. 
The sea was smooth, and the breeze was hardly 
strong enough to move the boat. Dagmar was at her 
place by the tiller. She was not so noisy as usual. Her 
kerchief had slipped down on to her shoulders, and 
Harald saw the light silken curls against the back- 
ground of green water; but Dagmar was thoughtful, 
and gazed far out over the fjord rather than at her 
companion in the other end of the boat. 

Cousin Dagmar was a sweet girl ; and no doubt 
she would make just such a wife as her sister. She 
was a worker, too, and not content with the oft-times 
rude environments which he had seen in other homes. 
He had some time ago discovered that the best room 
of his uncle's had been Dagmar's previous to his com- 
ing. And then the picture in his thoughts became bold- 
er in outline ; and he, also, had a home nestling beneath 
the shelter of the crags. There was a plot of ground 
in front in which grew vegetables and flowers. Behind 
the small window-panes bloomed the geranium and 
fnchia ; and when he came home, cold and hungry and 
wet from the sea, one met him at the door — and she 
would kiss him ; and he would repay her, and then she 
would dry his clothes and set a steaming supper on 
the table. Then, perhaps, rosy-fingered children would 
pull at his hair and climb on his knee. But what 
would she look like? as sweet as she on the other side 
of the sail? Why was she so quiet? Perhaps it was 
his fault. He was stupid to live so in the uncertain 
future, when the real was present with him. Dagmar 
had treated him kindly but — but, he was her cousin, 



(A THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

and she could not do less — well, it did not cost any- 
thing to build air castles anyway. 

The wind stiffened, the sail filled, and the boat 
went faster. Still Dagmar was silent. It was night 
ere they reached home; and when they walked from 
the boat up to the house, Harald thought she was cry- 
ing. Had he dared, he would have taken her hand and 
enquired about her trouble. She left him at the house. 
As Harald entered, a letter was handed to him. It was 
from grandmother, the first he had received from her, 
because writing was no easy task for her. 

Grandmother was well, it said. The children were 
growing fast. Holger was preparing for confirmation. 
Hulda often asked about "big brother." Father was 
away in the forest. The school-master had visited her 
and enquired after him. She had been down to Van- 
gen with some knitting for Merchant Bernard — by the 
way, he must not forget to let her know when he need- 
ed stockings — Miss Bernard had treated her so kindly 
— had taken her into the dining-room and given her 
coffee and cake. She had asked about Harald, and had 
wished to be remembered to him when she wrote. "So, 
of course, I had to write, Harald, if for nothing else 
than to send you greetings from such a sweet young 
lady as Thora Bernhard." 

Harald did not tell the family the latter bit of 
news. He got away to his room as soon as possible. 
Somehow, it seemed to him that a fair castle which he 
had built that afternoon was tumbling about his ears, 
and he was trying to dodge the pieces. Then, when 
the tumult was over, out of the mists, away in a dim, 



HOME LIFE IN THE NORTH. 65 

beautiful distance, there appeared to him another cas- 
tle of indescribable grace and loveliness. 

Before going to bed that night, he took from the 
pocket of his coat a little note-book. A withered rose 
fell into his hand, and its fragrance was laden with 
sweet remembrance. 



66 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



VI. 



LIFE OF THE NORWEGIAN FISHERMAN. 

During the following months, Harald served his 
apprenticeship to the calling of a fisherman. The fall 
fishing being good, Uncle Erik was on the sea most of 
his time. Harald was with him, as they sailed from 
fjord to fjord, following the fish in their movements. 
During these trips, Harald received a share in the catch, 
the proceeds of which gavo him more money than he 
had ever had before. Two weeks prior to Christmas, he 
sent the most of it to his grandmother, telling her to use 
it for her comfort — not by any means to save it, as he 
was going to earn more. 

Preparations for the trip to Lofoten now occupied 
most of the time of the inhabitants of Nordland. Har- 
ald entered enthusiastically into the work. His uncle 
was a line fisher, and his greatest anxiety was to se- 
cure the required amount of small herring for bait. For 
this purpose they sailed in the wind, and rowed during 
still weather in and out of every corner, following" every 
indication of herring. It was nearly time to start fur Lo- 
foten before they had secured enough. 

On shore there was life also. Lines and nets must 
be repaired ; the boats overhauled ; chests, ropes, sails, 
oars, and the hundred and one other minor articles rnutft 
be looked after. Hired help had to be engaged. The 
women were kept just as busy; and the house was alive 



THE FISHERMAN. 67 

with their clatter, their gossip, their laughter, their sing- 
ing, as they worked. Stacks of flad brod must be 
baked; loaves of black ryebread and cakes of wheat- 
flour were to be baked in the brick oven ; the men's 
clothing must be patched and mended ; great, thick 
stockings and mittens, knit. The girls worked until per- 
spiration stood upon their rosy faces ; the mother su- 
pervised. The grandmother, where there was one too 
old to help, sat in the corner, out of the way, with her 
knitting. 

The Christmas holidays were celebrated in the us- 
ual Nordland manner, and then, abour the middle of 
January, all were ready for Lofoten. Just before start- 
ing, Harald received a package from grandmother, con- 
taining a pair of thick stockings and a pair of woolen 
mittens. The mittens for the Lofoten fisherman's use 
should have two thumbs, so that when one side be- 
comes wet, it can be slipped off the hand, and turned 
around to the dry side ; but, of course, grandmother 
knew nothing about such a contrivance. They were 
warm and serviceable, even if they had but one thumb 
each. With the package came a letter, and within the 
letter was a note written very neatly on a piece of 
smooth, white birch-bark. It read as follows : 

Vangen, January 10, 18 — 
Friend Harald Einersen: 

Grandmother often comes to see me. She is well, as 
we all are. Nordland must be a strange country, and the 
fishing at Lofoten very interesting. Will you not write and 
tell me all about your trip to the islands? 

Respectfully, 

Thora Bern hard. 



68 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

Harald certainly would. He provided himself with 
writing material, and from Lofoten sent a long letter 
to Thora. This is the communication : 

Kastfjord, Lofoten, January, 30, 18 — 
Friend Thora Bernhard:. 

Many thanks for your birch-bark letter. As the day is 
too stormy to fish, I will begin my answer to you, telling 
you about my trip here, and what I have done so far. We 
left Sandstad, on January 20th. A large crowd of fishers 
gathered at Uncle Erik's place preparatory to starting. 
There were forty-two men in our company. We had to 
wait two days for a favorable wind, but it came on the 
morning of the 20th. Then, after a hurried meal, good-byes 
were said, and we jumped into the boats. The partings 
were quite sad in some cases, because no one knows what 
might happen before the fishers return, and some may 
never come back at all. 

We had a favorable wind most of the way. One day 
the breeze failed us altogether, and then you should have 
seen us all at the oars. The whole fleet took part in the 
race. I never worked so hard in my life, but our boat was 
not in the lead when the wind caught us again. The 
weather was pleasant, so everybody said, though I don't 
call snow storms and hurricanes pleasant weather, espe- 
cially when one is in an open boat on the sea. The days are 
very short now, and we could not travel very far each day; 
though, sometimes wnen the moon shone bright, wc kept 
on our way all night. My, how sleepy I became! 

We have in our boat Uncle Erik, Cousin Johan, a hired 
man named Jens, and myself. Some of the boats have four 
and a half men, and others have five — boys are counted as 
half-men — Uncle Erik does not count me that way, how- 
ever. 

On dark and stormy nights, we managed to anchor at 
some port where we would get shelter on land. One night, 
we were part of a company consisting of nearly one hun- 



THE FISHERMAN. 69 

dren men packed into a warehouse, much like herrings in a 
barrel. Most of us were wet when we landed, but the 
night was so cold that our clothing was frozen stiff in the 
morning — Grandmother's warm stockings came in handy. 

Cousin Johan is a good fellow. He is not so rough and 
wild as many of the other fishermen. He assists me to un- 
derstand this strange life and the best way to overcome dif- 
ficulties. I must tell you that I have visited at his home 
a number of times. He has a wife, my cousin Maria, and 
two children. They have such a cosy home. 

When we arrived at this place, the houses which have 
been built here for tne accommodation of the fishermen 
during the fishing season, were nearly snowed under; but, 
in a short time, we had paths shoveled to them, and we 
moved in. The first thing we did was to build a good fire 
in the stove, and open door and window that the dampness 
might be driven out. Then we had a cooked supper, after 
which we scrubbed the floor with snow. We have done 
very little fishing. The weather is quite rough, and, as the 
cod have not arrived in great numbers yet, we are not doing 
much. 

February 7th. 

Since writing last, we have done some fishing, and 
I will tell you about it. This station has now some three 
hundred boats and over a thousand men. The fish have 
come in great numbers, and you might imagine what a stir 
there is. There are many government regulations regard- 
ing the fishing, by which each fisher is to have an equal 
chance. One of these rules is that no boat must leave the 
harbor for the fishing grounds until the signal is given, 
which is done by the hoisting of a flag. But then you should 
see us! Though it is hardly daylight away we go, rowing as 
if for life. There are racing, challenging, laughing, singing, 
and, sometimes, swearing. The sea gulls fly in circles over 
the fleet, uttering their harsh cr'es. Daylight comes, and 
.we are at length on the banks, or fishing grounds, which are 
at present quite a distance out. 

Then we set our lines. Each line contains about three 



/O THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

thousand baited hooks. Two of us are at the oars, while one 
lets out the lines. When these are all set properly, we go 
to work hauling in the lines which were set the day before. 
Two men haul in, one stands with a short, bent, steel spike, 
fastened into a handle, and with it helps each big, shining 
cod into the boat. Another man counts the fish, and stores 
them in their proper place. Sometimes our lines get tan- 
gled with others;then we have a great time to pick out our 
fish from those of our neighbors. This work requires all 
the daylight we have. If the wind is favorable, we can get 
to shore again about six o'clock; but, if we have to row, it 
sometimes takes us until nine or ten, but our day's work is 
not over yet. The fish must be disposed of, and our lines 
made ready for the next day. Some sell their fish, some 
hang them to dry, and sell only the livers, the eggs and the 
heads. It is often midnight before we get something to eat 
and then go to bed. Thus we labor day after day.. We 
could not endure it long, were it not for the stormy days 
that occur two or three times a week, when we all remain on 
land to rest. We then sleep half the day, visit our neigh- 
bors, gossip, read the newspapers, sing songs, provide our- 
selves with food — and — and write long letters to young la- 
dies at home. 

February 20th. 

Another stormy day. Uncle is sleeping. As Johan is 
very much interested in politics, he is reading Bjornson's 
latest article; Jens is off visiting. I am writing — isn't that 
news for you? In reading over what I last wrote, I see that 
it is about the life on the sea. You might also be interested 
in life on the shore. 

Our house is situated about a stone's throw from the 
water. To get into our living room, you would have to go 
into the entre and through an aisle, barrels of all kinds be- 
ing stacked up on each side, with fish lines hanging from 
the roof. Once inside, you would see the rusty stove near 
one wall; against two others, the bunks or beds are built. 
By the window stands the table, and under it are three 
empty butter kegs — the fourth I am sitt : ng on. That is 



THE FISHERMAN. 71 

about all the furniture. When we get home at nights, the 
first thing we do is to rid ourselves of our heavy fisher- 
boots, and put on our warm, dry, wooden shoes. Then we 
tumble into the bunks and rest a bit until supper is cooked. 
We always have fresh fish for supper. For dessert we have 
fish molje. With all your knowledge of cookery, you will 
not know what that is. At first I could not eat it, but now 
— well, I must describe it to you; you may wish to try it. 

Fill a kettle about half full of flat brod. Pour over it 
hot fish soup, and let it stand until the bread is well soaked. 
Then pour most of the soup off, and stir the whole until it 
becomes something like mush. Then stir in the fat from 
a number of cod livers. Sweeten it with syrup, and make 
it tart with vinegar. Don't forget to stir all the time. Note: 
If any of the above mentioned ingredients are missing, 
don't try to eat it. 

Johan has awakened Uncle Erik by his reading aloud; 
and, as there is now a warm political discussion — Uncle be- 
lieves in the party of the Right and Johan belongs to the 
Left — I shall have to quit writing for today. 

February 28th. 
Sunday. What a bless : ng to rest! We have had a hard 
week. The fish move about from place to place around the 
islands, and the fishers try to follow. So last week we had 
big fishing, and great crowds of men. It makes a wonderful 
stir when thousands of men congregate in such a small 
place as this. ******** 

Cousin Johan came in as I began writing today, and 
wished me to go to church with him. I have just come 
back, and I don't know how well I shall be able to write, 
because something occurred in the church which has aiTcct- 
ed me strangely. We have meetings here every Sunday, 
and sometimes, when it is stormy, on other days. I usually 
go. Johan scarcely ever goes. The preacher, today, was 
the well-known Pastor Bange. The house was crowded wiui 
fishermen. The pastor gave us the usual talk about the 
grace of God saving us all, if we but believe in Christ, and 



72 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

how we can do nothing of ourselves, in regard to our sal- 
vation. It was all very pleasant, I thought. After the ser- 
mon, privilege was given persons present to bear testimonv 
and in a moment, Cousin Johan was on his feet. The 
church was still as death — most of those present knew of 
Johan's unbelief, and his poor standing as a Christian. 

"I should like you to explain, dear pastor," began 
Johan in his quiet, unhesitating way, "the Apostle James' 
expression that 'faith without works is dead;' also what is 
meant by the scriptural saying that all men shall be judged 
'according to their works,' and that God 'will render to 
every man according to his deeds.' For my part I agree 
with the Apostle. By God's grace the Kastfjord may be full 
of cod, but what profiteth it, if we do not gather them in; 
yes, take advantage of God's grace by long, hard work on 
our part." 

As he seated himself, a subdued hum swept througn the 
room. Then the pastor arose again. I thought he was a 
little pale, but he smiled and was very calm. I scarcely 
heard what he said, he spoke so low, and I was myself so 
astonished at Cousin Johan; but I caught something about 
infant baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament being the 
works needed — the means whereby the grace of God is de- 
lievered to us. I'll admit, I was somewhat disappointed in 
the answer. It has all muddled me, and I hardly know 
what to think about it. Perhaps you can explain it to me. 
You stood at the head of your class, you remember, while I 
was only fourth. 

March 3rd. 

The fishing has become poor here, and we are to move 
to Vagsund; so I will close this letter, and mail it today. 
Kind regards to grandmother, all other friends, and to 
yourself, from 

Your friend, 

Harald Einersen. 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 73 



VII. 



HARALD S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 

Vagsund lay under the steep wall of one of Lof- 
oten's outermost islands. The fishing station itself 
was quite well protected, but the fishing grounds were 
some miles out from land directly in the sweep of the 
fierce Arctic storms which came rushing up the open 
Westfjord. Erik Svensen and his men found good 
fishing at Vagsund, although the weather was often so 
rough that they could not put to sea. It became colder, 
too. Fierce snowstorms often caught the home-com- 
ing boats, and sometimes made it difficult to land. But 
fish they must, if possible ; and the Nordland fisherman 
cares little for the state of the weather, if there is fish 
to be caught. However, on stormy days, the station 
flag is not raised ; that means, "stay on land — no fishing 
today." 

During these lay-on-land days, Harald and Johan 
had many chats together. Harald found something at- 
tractive in his cousin. He enjoyed listening to his talk, 
which always seemed so sensible and straight-forward. 
Johan did not always "talk fish," as did the other men, 
nor did he usually join in the common gossip of the 
crowd. He had attended school only very little. He 
had not even been confirmed, which made him quite a 



74 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

heathen in the eyes of many who knew it. It was told 
of him that the winter before, Pastor Bange had gone 
privately to him and offered to confirm him if he would 
come to the school of the priest and learn the cate- 
chism ; but Johan Bernsen did not attend the school ; 
neither was he confirmed. 

Johan, however, was a great reader, and he made 
good use of the library furnished the Lofoten fisher- 
men. One stormy day in March, Johan lay in his 
bunk reading aloud, while Harald mended lines. Un- 
cle Erik and Jens were out. 

Suddenly Johan closed his book with a bang, took 
his pipe from the shelf, relit it, but said nothing for a 
time. 

"Well?'' inquired Harald. 

''Harald," he asked, "you are not going to be a 
fisherman all your life?" 

"I don't know ; I may be." 

"Don't you do it." 

"Why?" 

"This fishing business is a dog's life. It's slavery 
of the worst kind. What advancement can one make? 
I never saw a fisherman yet that did not have to work 
like a slave for a bare living. You've got to get out 
of this. Make a little to begin with, and then become 
a merchant — a fish buyer. If I could only obtain 
credit at Bergen for a year, I would come out on top 
— but say, Harald, why don't you go to school ?" 

"Why, I've been to school ; was confirmed nearly 
four years ago." 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 75 

"Tut, you were confirmed ! I know. That means 
you have completed your education! Nonsense, you 
have just begun. I wish I were in possession of your 
chances, you wouldn't see me catching cod all my life." 

"What would you do?" 

"First, I would go to the high school at Tromso, 
and then to the University at Christiania." Johan 
arose to a sitting position, placed his pipe back on the 
shelf, and picked up the book again. "This is a his- 
tory, a history of Norway. I know it quite well now, 
but I would learn all there is to learn about that 
subject. Then I would study the law — one must 
know something about that, and then, I might 
have to teach school awhile, but not long. I 
would get into stortingct (the Norwegian law- 
making body) somehow. I tell you, my boy, this 
country of ours has a glorious future. We are not 
going to be lorded over by a king much longer. We're 
going to be a republic, Harald, a free republic like the 
states in America. We are Norsemen, and we are go- 
ing to be free in name as well as in fact. O, it makes 
my blood boil when I think of how we — sons of the 
Vikings of old, who made all Europe tremble — of how 
we sit quietly under the rule of a Frenchman ! Of a 
Frenchman, think of it! We might tolerate one of 
Harald Haafagre's descendants, but a Frenchman — !" 

Harald let the lines lay in a tangle while he list- 
ened. Johan jumped from the bunk, walked back 
and forth, and then he laughed quietly as if to him- 
self. 

"I don't often break out like that, though I feel 



76 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

like it many times. I am visionary, perhaps, but I 
can't help being as God has made me." 

Johan went to his clothes-box under his bunk, 
took out a Bible, pulled a butter keg from under the 
table and sat down. 

"When I get worked up like that, I always read 
my Bible. That quiets me again." 

"I thought you didn't believe in the Bible much," 
said Harald. 

"Believe in it! Of course I do. I believe in it 
more than Pastor Bange does. Let me read you 
some of Christ's Sermon on the Mount. I think that 
is so grand." 

The fisherman read, in his rich, deep-toned voice, 
while the young man listened. Certainly some deeper 
meanings were brought out even by the way it was 
read. After a half hour's reading, Johan closed the 
book and began talking again. 

Q*So, you do not think I am religious," he said, 
much more quietly than when his theme was political, 
"but I claim to be quite religious. /I believe in God, 
I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the doctrine which 
he taught, but I do not believe much of the stuff that 
is preached now-a-days. It seems to me that the religion 
of the preachers — and they are pretty much all alike — 
is so unreal, so unreasonable, so out of harmony with 
everything else in life that I can't comprehend it. My 
notion of religion is that it should be a divine essence 
that permeates all things — yet that does not define it. 
It should be something we could not put on and off, 
as the priest does his surplice. It should not be apart 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE OX THE SEA. 77 

from nature, from science, or from any known truth, 
but should harmonize with them all. It should 
smile from the flower ; sing from the brook ; shine from 
the stars in heaven ; encompass the whole human fam- 
ily, past, present, and future ; be the safety anchor in 
every storm, the Father-whisper to the son ; and' it 
should answer some of my soul's innermost questions 
on the mystery of my bei ng/^ 

Stamping the snow from his feet, Jens came in and 
announced that the storm was nearly ceased and that 
there were prospects of fishing on the morrow. That 
night Harald could hardly sleep. Johan's talk had dis- 
turbed him, had seemingly stirred some deep feeling 
within him. His thoughts were very much in a mud- 
dle, and he was glad when at length the gray dawn ap- 
peared. 

But the storm was not over, though it lulled to- 
wards noon. Some of the fishermen were fretful, 
showing anxiety about their lines and nets. The flag 
was hoisted after dinner, but not many went out. 
Some said that the flagman had made a mistake as the 
storm was not yet over. 

Johan, Harald, and Jens went out to take in yes- 
terday's lines. Uncle Erik would not go ; not that he 
feared the sea, but he was not well. The wind blew 
from the land, and they were not long in reaching their 
lines which were well out in the open fjord; but the 
storm had driven them so that they had become en- 
tangled with others. They were, however, full of fish 
and must be hauled. The men worked hard that whole 
afternoon. The sky cleared, but the wind blew, strong 



78 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

and cold. The waves rolled high, their white crests 
frequently breaking into the boat. The cold increased 
as night came on, yet the men silently and earnestly 
continued their labors. 

The stars were out when the boat was ready to 
return. The wind blew more fiercely than ever from 
the land, and it became steadily colder. The boat had 
become coated with ice, both inside and along the top 
railing. It was, therefore, heavy, and clumsily and 
slowly moved along its zigzag course. When the men 
had finished their work, they were tired and sat down 
to rest. In a few minutes, their clothing was frozen 
stiff, and icicles hung from hair and beard. The spray 
seemed to freeze on their faces. 

Still the cold increased. The boat became heavier 
with ice. Night came on. The sky was a deep blue, 
studded with diamond stars. The sea, of the same 
color, was nearly hidden under its covering of white- 
caps. 

"We must not sit still," said Harald, "or we shall 
die in this cold. Here, let me steer, while you work 
at the oars." 

Johan did not answer. Harald reached for the 
oars, but found them frozen fast to the boat ! He 
chopped two of them loose and gave one to each of the 
others. 

"No," said Johan, "you and Jens use them. I will 
steer." 

"But you'll freeze to death, Johan, sitting still. 
Let me steer awhile." 

So Harald took his turn at the tiller, while Johan 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 79 

and Jens worked at the oars. It was nearly impossible 
to do anything with them, so heavy and clumsy were 
they with encrusted ice. In twenty minutes, both oars 
had been lost in the sea, and Johan went back to the 
tiller. 

Both Johan and Jens produced brandy flasks from 
their pockets. The bottle which Jens had was nearly 
empty, as he had taken drinks from it during the after- 
noon, but that which Johan handed to Harald was 
nearly full. 

"Drink," said Johan, "drink and get warm !" 

Harald had never yet tasted strong drink, and he 
hesitated remembering his father's words, as he took 
the flask ; but there could be no harm in taking a little 
now, if it would help keep him warm — the marrow 
seemed to be freezing in his bones. But Johan needed 
it more, as he must sit by the tiller. Harald put the 
flask to his lips and took a small sip. The liquor made 
a stinging sensation in his mouth. 

"Johan, you must have what's left, urged Harald, 
"I can move about and keep warm. Jens, man, get up; 
don't lie there, you'll freeze to death !" 

Jens had fallen into the boat, and lay in a stupor. 
Harald tried to shake him into action, but it was use- 
less. He then lifted him bodily, and tried to have him 
move about, but the instant Harald let go his hold, 
Jens would lie down again. 

"Shift the sail," said Johan, "we must tack." The 
ropes were like bars of iron, and it was nearly impos- 
sible to do anything with them; but it was movement, 
anyway, and in movement lay his only hope. The 



80 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

lights from the fishermen's houses could be seen, twink- 
ling now and then above the heaving sea. The distant 
roar of the waves, dashing themselves into spray 
against the rocks, could be heard. The boat crept 
slowly on. It would take an hour yet to reach the 
shore. 

Harald felt drowsiness stealing over him. He 
knew what that meant. Perhaps he could get another 
swallow of brandy. Jens lay still, and Harald searched 
for his flask. He found it clenched in the dying man's 
hand, but it was empty. Harald had no desire to try 
to arouse the man. He moved up to the tiller where 
Johan sat. 

"Have you any brandy left, Johan ; I'm terribly 
cold?" 

Johan did not answer. Harald shook his cousin 
fiercely. "Get up," he shouted, "get up, and move. O, 
Johan, wake up ; don't sit there and die ! Remember 
Maria and the children." 

But the steersman sat immovable, a moan only es- 
caping from his lips. The boat was now in danger of 
running on to the rocks. Once more, it must tack, into 
the harbor this time. Harald shifted the sail and shout- 
ed to Johan to turn the rudder ; but Johan did not move. 
Harald hurried with all speed possible to the tiller, and 
gave it a turn. Harald made an effort to take Johan's 
hand from the tiller, but it seemed frozen to it, so that 
he wrenched with all his might to get it loose. Then 
Johan fell forward on his face. Harald turned him 
over, but could do no more. 

As the boat drew nearer to the high mountain wall, 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 81 

the wind slightly moderated, but this would not help 
the freezing fishermen, as it would take so much longer 
to reach land. Harald headed his boat for the lights. 
He was extremely tired, and a rest seemed so good. 
O, how cold it was ! His mits were like iron gloves. 
Johan and Jens lay in the boat as if asleep, and Harald 
felt anxious to join them. How could he endure it, 
until he could reach the shore ! 

The schoolmaster, down at Opdal, had told them, 
one day, what were the sensations of freezing to death. 
Harald now remembered it clearly and a panorama 
went before his eyes : There were Opdal's beloved 
hills and vales, green in summer beauty. He heard the 
sweet music of the sheep's bell ; he scented the wild 
odor of the pine woods. There was grandmother, sit- 
ting by the stove, spinning and humming as she spun. 
Father's sharp ax made the chips fly. The children 
shouted in their play. Little Hulda, little sister Hulda, 
climbed again upon his shoulders, and dug her tiny 
fingers into his curls, to hold on when her horse went 
fast. And then, down at Vangen, he saw a white- 
painted house, and a girl digging in the garden. She 
smiled at him, and, going to the flower-beds which 
were located under the glass frames, she picked the 
largest red rose on the bush, and gave it to him. He 
put it in his pocket, his inside pocket, right here — 

Harald made a movement, as if to put his hand 
into an inner pocket of his jacket ; but his fingers were 
stiff with cold. But the exertion awoke him to his 
senses again, and he realized that the withered flower 
was safe in the pocket of his best coat on shore. The 



82 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

night grew dark and cold again, but the lights on the 
shore seemed much nearer. He must not give up. 
One more effort, just one more, for her sake — for her 
who had given him the rose. 

Ten minutes later, a boat from the shore met him, 
and Harald had a faint recollection of being lifted out 
and rolled into a blanket. Then he knew no more, until 
he awoke, the next day in his Uncle Erik's bunk-house 
on the shore. 

The church at Vagsund was filled to overflowing 
with fishermen, come to pay their last tokens of re- 
spects to their three dead comrades, Johan Bern- 
sen, Jens Monson, and Ivar Soroe. The last 
named was brought in dead by another relief boat on 
that fateful afternoon of the storm. 

The three black caskets lay side by side before the 
altar. Pastor Bange officiated. The silent gloom with- 
in was enhanced by the storm which howled without. 
On the front seat sat Erik Svensen and Harald Einer- 
sen, with a number of other fishermen, relatives or dear 
friends of the dead. Harald's face was pale and thin, 
as if he had been ill for a month. 

At the close of the services, comrades bore the 
caskets to the little graveyard, at the foot of a steep 
crag. Paths had been shovelled to the graves, along 
which the long procession moved through the driving 
snow. The three coffins were lowered, and then the 
pastor, taking a small, spade-like implement, tossed 
three times a little earth on the coffin of Jens Monson, 
repeating the usual formula of, "Dust thou art, to dust 
thou shalt return, and of the dust thou shalt come 



HARALD'S ADVENTURE ON THE SEA. 83 

forth." Then the ceremony was performed over the 
grave of Ivar Soroe. Here the pastor stopped. He 
then breathed a short prayer, covered his head, raised 
his umbrella, and walked away from the graves be- 
tween the long lines of men standing on each side of 
the path. 

The silence was so perfect that the hard breathings 
of some of the men could be heard as also the lapping 
of the sea against the beach below. The men who 
were to fill the graves stood still, not knowing what to 
do. 

Then Harald Einersen darted from the edge of 
Johan Bernsen's grave, ran along the path, and stopped 
in front of the retreating priest. He blocked the pas- 
sage, and, holding up his open hand said : 

"Give my cousin Christian burial !" 

"I cannot give him Christian burial — he is not a 
Christian I" 

"You lie. Pastor Bange — give my cousin Christian 
burial ! I know Johan Bernsen — I knew him to be a 
Christian, a better Christian than I — or any of us here. 
Give him decent burial!" 

The priest tried to pass, but Harald blocked the 
way. His pale face was paler yet, while his eyes fairly 
shone from their hollow depths. 

"Men," said Harald to his comrades around him, 
"was my cousin a Christian?" 

"Yes," shouted one close by. 

"He was — yes, yes — " came from all directions. 
Then the murmur grew louder. The priest hesitated. 

"Go back and finish your work !" shouted one. 



84 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Go back, pastor !" said another. 

There was more tumult. Harald stood firm in the 
path. Then the priest turned, walked back to Johan 
Bernsen's grave, and performed the usual ceremony ! 

When the priest departed, his face was pale with 
emotion ; and something like a cheer broke from the 
assembled fishermen when Harald stepped aside to let 
the pastor pass. 



CONVALESCENCE. 85 



VIII. 



CONVALESCENCE. 



It was a sad home-coming to Sandstad. Maria 
had left her isolated and now desolate home, and had 
taken refuge with her mother and Dagmar, and there 
her father found her on his return. Harald was yet 
weak and unable to do hard work. He often went 
about as if he were dazed or stunned, and when he 
discovered Maria sitting in some corner, crying, he 
could not keep the tears back from his own eyes. He 
had done well at Lofoten up to the time of the great 
storm. His share was four hundred fish, which, when 
sold, gave him a considerable sum of money. A large 
portion of it, he sent to his grandmother, bidding her 
make such presents to the brothers and Hulda as she 
thought wise. A small part he placed in the savings 
bank at Tromso as a beginning for a boat of his own, 
as his uncle had suggested. He mourned for Johan 
as if he had been a brother. He had not known many 
intimate associates, nor enjoyed many close friendships. 
Johan had been much of an ideal to him. Now, some- 
thing had gone out of his life. To whom could he talk 
as he had talked to his cousin? Who would laugh 
at his mistakes, and then good-naturedly show him 
his error, as Johan had done many times when teaching 



86 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

him how to fish? He sailed over to Johan's deserted 
home every day when the weather was fair to look 
after the one cow Maria owned. 

As the spring months came on, the sail across the 
narrow fjord was generally pleasant. The green grass 
began to grow on the sunny side of the big rocks, and 
some hardy flowers were shooting their first leaves 
above the soil. 

On warm afternoons, Harald would sit in some 
sunny nook by Johan's house to let the solitude enwrap 
him as with a cloak. It was a kind of sad pleasure, 
to sit thus alone, to dream of his dead cousin. What 
ambitions that cousin had cherished ! Had he lived, he 
would have been more than a mere fisherman all his 
life. He had scarcely attended school, yet he knew 
more of history and of knowledge in general, than 
many a schoolmaster. He had not been confirmed, 
yet he seemed to know vastly more about the Bible 
than he himself did. Their last conversation on re- 
ligion and the Bible came to him now as a farewell and 
a benediction. 

One day, Maria and Dagmar went with him. 
Dagmar did her best to direct the talk to other topics, 
but the other two insisted on finding something to say 
about Johan ; and when Harald told of their last con- 
versation, and what his cousin had advised him to do 
and to be, Dagmar ceased her light-mindedness to 
listen. 

"He reminded me of my grandmother down at 
Opdal," said Harald; "she used to speak to me like 
that. She is constantly looking far ahead, to behold 



. CONVALESCENCE. 87 

wonderful opportunities. One could never get dis- 
couraged with grandmother for company, and so it 
was with cousin Johan. Life was always full of hope 
for him, as if he could see clearly some brilliant fu- 
ture." 

"Which, in his case, has been realized," said Maria 
with a sob, ''but his poor wife and children, what 
shall become of us?" 

It was difficult to say more. Up at the lonely 
house, Maria went about from place to place with 
heart-breaking sadness. A box of articles, which had 
belonged to Johan, stood unopened on the floor. His 
wife opened it, and took out the things one by one. 
At the bottom of the box was found Johan's Bible. 
Maria placed it on the floor beside his watch, and 
Harald picked it up. 

"Give me this, cousin Maria," said Harald. "1 
should like a keep-sake, too." 

Maria took the book, turned over the leaves, and 
hesitated. "Yes," she said, "I have many more keep- 
sakes. Take it, Harald." 

She pressed the book to her lips, then handed it to 
him. 

Another afternoon when Harald was coming home 
from an errand to Maria's house, instead of sailing 
his boat to the usual landing, he headed up the fjord 
to where a sloop lay anchored close to the shore. From 
a tall pole on the land floated a white flag, whose 
meaning he well knew. The sloop was loaded with 
cod, fresh from the fisheries. On the clean, pebbled 
beach at the head of the fjord, the fish were to be cured. 



88 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

The flag was a signal that help was vranted for this 
work, and on a nearer approach, he could see that 
many boys and girls from Sandstad were already busy 
spreading the split and salted cod on the warm rocks. 

Harald sailed up to the sloop, climbed on board 
to have a chat with the owner, who, however, was 
on land directing the workers. Harald re-entered 
his boat and soon tied up to the rocks. He went up 
to the curing grounds. There was a busy scene of 
life and animation. The wooden shoes clattered on 
the rocks, and the youths' faces were rosy with color. 
Every heart was glad with the joy of living. 

But Harald walked among them, lonesome still. 
He talked with the master of the vessel, chatted pleas- 
antly with the boys and girls, yet it was a mere out- 
ward form. In his soul, he was alone. He walked 
across the rocky beach to the grass land. Then he 
climbed a small hill to the level, upland valley. Some 
distance away, he saw a party of turf-cutters work- 
ing in the peat-bogs. He caught glimpses of gray- 
clad forms, with here and there a moving bit of color, 
red and yellow and blue — the kerchiefs of the girls 
As Harald drew nearer, he heard snatches of songs 
come up from the marsh, and the echo of a peal of 
laughter came now and then to him through the clear 
air. Yes, they were all happy down there, though 
hard at work in the wet, black bog, and well smeared 
with its grime. 

Harald seated himself on a warm rock, for he was 
not yet strong, and he soon tired. A few. soft, fleecy 
clouds sailed across the sky. The day was warm. The 



CONVALESCENCE. 89 

fjord lay blue and still, curving in and out and around 
the rock-bound land. The last snow had vanished 
from the near-by mountain tops, and wherever there 
was a patch of soil, there was growing grass. The 
whole earth lay in a soft, warm embrace, and all life 
on its surface seemed glad. 

Yet the young fisherman was not in touch with 
the day nor its beauties. He seemed apart from it all. 
The chain of sympathy which connects us to mother 
earth and all her creatures was broken in every link. 
He seemed absolutely alone. Though surrounded by 
all the wealth and beauty of earth, he could have sat 
there and cried all the afternoon. 

Listlessly, he moved on down across the bogs to 
the turf-cutters. One man was down in a hole, left 
from last year's cutting; with a sharp, square spade, 
he was cutting away blocks from the sides of the ex- 
posed bog. These blocks he threw out, and they were 
loaded on barrows and wheeled away to higher ground* 
to dry. Dagmar pushed a barrow, and her loads were 
neither small nor light. Yet when Harald came up, 
she laughingly invited him, if he wished to ride, to take 
a seat on the topmost turf-block of her load. 

"No, thank you," replied Harald. 

"Get on. I can wheel you," said Dagmar, and 
she shook the load until the top pieces tumbled off. 
Then she put down the handles of her barrow and 
seated herself on one of them. 

"Did you ever do such dirty work as this, Har- 
ald?" she asked. 

"I have never cut turf," he said. 



90 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Then you don't know what hard work is. I be- 
lieve that we girls in Nordland do more work than 
the men folks in the South — " 

"Or in the North either. Make no distinctions, 
and I'll accept your statement." 

"Well, our men do have it hard sometimes, on the 
sea, but I suppose it's no harder than cutting turf. 
Here, take this load over to the drying-ground. The 
pile near the pit is getting pretty large. 

Harald pushed the barrow along the boards laid 
over the soft places. It wobbled from side to side, 
and at last the wheel slipped off into the mud. Then 
the workers shouted. Harald lifted the wheel back on 
to the boards and went on again safely to the drying- 
grounds, where he scattered his turf and then returned 
for more. 

"That will do now. You mustn't overwork your- 
self. See how you are sweating already." 

So Dagmar relieved him of the barrow, and he 
helped to load, during the remainder of the afternoon. 

When it was time to go home, Harald explained 
that his boat was at the landing by the rocky beach, 
and he would have to go that way. 

"Then I'll go with you," said Dagmar ; "I would 
rather sail than walk, every time." 

There were, no doubt, others in that company who 
shared her opinions ; but they said nothing, so the two 
went down the valley towards the boat. 

"Did you get your letter?" asked Dagmar. 

"What letter?" 



CONVALESCENCE 91 

"The mail came just as I left home this morning, 
and there was one for you." 

"I did not get it. Whom was it from?" 

"Well, how should I know? However, it had the 
Vangen postmark, and you can guess the rest." 

"Oh." 

They walked along in silence. Harald plucked 
every blossom he found on the way — and there were 
yet a few of the dainty marshberry flowers on the bog. 
A letter from Thora — perhaps — it might be from some- 
one else. Father or grandmother might have been 
at Vangen and mailed the letter there. Thora had 
answered his letters from Lofoten. Why should she 
write, she having now none of his to answer? 

Dagmar stopped to take a stick from her shoe. 
The light hair went tumbling over her face as she 
stooped, and the movement brought vividly to Har- 
ald's recollection another girl. Dagmar was fair and 
full of limb and form. This other girl was darker, 
tall, and frail of form — and from this the young man 
went on in his comparisons : She was dainty ; Dag- 
mar was strong and robust. Her face was pale; his 
cousin's was rosy with health. She was the daughter 
of a merchant ; Dagmar, like himself, was a working- 
man's child. Yet the thoughts of the far-off Thora 
did more to drive away the loneliness of the day, than 
the presence of the fair cousin by his side. 

"If you pick any more flowers," said Dagmar, 
"you'll have to pay extra postage on your letter." 

Harald colored ; her aim had been true. He had 
thought of sending some of them in his next letter. 



92 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Here, you have some of them," he laughingly said. 

"Thank you. Now tell me, Harald, who is that 
girl at Yangen?" 

"You mean the one who wished to know some- 
thing about Nordland?" 

"And the doings of one Harald Einersen. Yes." 

"She's the daughter of a merchant down there, 
Thora Bernhard by name. My father has worked 
much for her father — we were confirmed on the 
same day. Xow, what of it?" 

"A merchant's daughter! Rich, too, I suppose! 
My, my, what a bold cousin I have !" 

"Bold? why? Grandmother often told me that 
we could have anything we wanted in reason and right- 
eousness, if God spared out lives, and we did our part, 
and—" 

He checked himself. What was he saying! But 
the secret was out. Harald's thoughts had been along 
that line, and in an instant of forgetfulness, he had 
spoken from his heart. He had meant to ridicule the 
idea expressed by Dagmar, but now that was useless. 
She had his thoughts, and from that moment certain 
thoughts within her own mind underwent a change. 
Dagmar seemed not to be disquieted. She laughed as 
usual, and placed in her hair some of the flowers that 
he had given her. 

The talk lagged again. At the beach, the cod 
were lying spread open on the warm rocks, and most 
of the workers had gone home. There was no wind, 
so Harald took one oar and Dagmar the other, and 
they rowed silently down the fjord to the wharf. 



CONVALESCENCE. 93 

That night Harald did not open his letter until he 
had gone into his own room. The message was char- 
acteristic of the writer, for on a heavy, cream-tinted 
sheet, with wide margins, she had written this : 

Vangen, June 30 — 
Dear Friend Harald: 

I am coming to Nordland to spend my vacation. Look 
out for me. 

Sincerely, 

Thora Bern hard. 



94 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



IX. 



A WEEK WITH THORA IN THE LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT 

SUN. 

The pleasure derived from the receipt of Thora's 
letter was not altogether unalloyed. The note was pro- 
vokingly indefinite. When would she come? where 
would she come ? would she wish to stop at Sandstad ? 
how would Aunt Karen entertain her ? It was all very 
well when one could choose the time, place, and con- 
ditions of such a meeting; but to come unaware, find- 
ing them unprepared, might prove very humiliating 
indeed. Harald sensed his position. Thora had re- 
ceived training in polite society, had gone to the high- 
er schools, had always been surrounded with the com- 
forts and many elegancies of life. He was a farmer, 
a fisherman, living their lives. Nordland customs were 
ofttimes crude — perhaps, however, no cruder than he 
himself. What would Thora think of it all ? Would she 
not go away disgusted? 

But the situation must be faced. Thora was com- 
ing and, possibly, right away; so he read the short 
letter to Aunt Karen, explaining who the visitor was, 
and then asked for advice. His aunt smiled good 
naturedly at his agitation. 

"Well, if she comes to Sandstad, she shall be wel- 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 95 

come/' she said. "We will give her the best we have, 
and that is all anyone can do." 

The best up-stairs room was vacated, thoroughly 
cleaned, and left in rigid order, to await the coming 
of the expected guest. 

The larger coast steamers did not stop at Sand- 
stad. Six miles across the island was the port of 
Ringvik, where the mail steamers, going north and 
south, touched. From Ringvik smaller boats plied 
among the lesser water-ways, touching at all the small 
hamlets on the islands and along the mainland. It 
was hoped that if Miss Bernhard came to Sandstad 
direct from Ringvik, she would let them know by let- 
ter beforehand. 

Fully a week passed, yet nothing was heard of the 
expected visitor. Harald's nerves had settled some- 
what, he having had time to add some needed articles 
to his wardrobe, and to trim himself, as the occasion 
suggested. From his window, he could see the land- 
ing, and on the semi-weekly mail days, he watched the 
steamer closely to see if any one came on shore. Twice 
he had had a change of clothing ready, but each time 
there was no need of getting rid of his usual work-day 
attire. 

The creek that flows into the sea at Sandstad 
comes tumbling over its rocky bed with much vio- 
lence, and the energy thus exhibited is utilized by the 
Nordlanders of the village in running their primitive 
flour mills. Up the stream, a few rods apart, stand a 
number of small, one-roomed, log huts. Through the 
floor of each of these huts protrudes a beam which 



96 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

reaches down to the water. The lower end of the 
beam is furnished with arms or paddles, against which 
the water is directed. The beam turning, turns one of 
the mill-stones in the room above, and thus the barley 
is ground. 

One afternoon, Harald shouldered a sack of bar- 
ley, and started out to fill up the box that the mill 
might grind all night. As he paused for breath on 
the top of a somewhat steep rise in the road, he saw 
coming down the opposite hill on a fast trot, Uncle 
Erik in his two-wheeled cart. Beside his uncle sat 
Thora Bernhard. Harald's first thought was to get 
away somewhere out of sight, but both had seen him, 
so that would be useless. He placed his sack of bar- 
ley on the side of the road, and seating himself on it, 
awaited results. The cart rattled up, and with a 
p-r-r-r, the horse was stopped. Harald's face was 
full of color, though he tried hard to check it. Thora 
held out her gloved hand and said pleasantly, "How 
are you?" 

"I've arrived, you see," she continued. "I met 
your uncle at Ringvik. He said I would have to wait 
there until tomorrow, there being no boat earlier Then 
I asked him how he was going home, and he spoke 
depreciatingly of his good horse and cart here — why, 
I wouldn't have missed this delightful ride over the 
island for a great deal." 

"You have been considerably shaken," suggested 
the driver. 

"Not a bit. It has been fine — where are you 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 97 

going with that sack, Harald? Here, I'll get out and 
you may then place your load by my valise." 

She jumped out of the cart before he could remon- 
strate. Then, when he had explained, she said : 

"So that's your mill, is it? I should very much 
like to see it. May I go with you? Mr. Svensen will 
take my baggage to the house, won't you, and I'll go 
along with Harald." 

So Uncle Erik drove off and left them together. 
Harald shouldered his barley, and they soon reached 
the mill, where the grist was emptied into a large box 
from which a small stream of grain ran into the open- 
ing in the center of the revolving mill-stone. Thora 
was very much interested in what she saw, and cared 
little for the considerable flour dust on her clothing. 
She, of course, did not notice Harald's odd Nord- 
land's dress nor his wooden shoes — he wore wooden 
shoes around the house only, not usually when there 
was company to entertain. Harald found little to say. 
What a change the year had brought in her ! She 
was a full-grown woman, more beautiful than ever. 
Her thin face had become fuller. Her dark hair was 
long and lay coiled up under the small cap. She was 
the Thora of his dreams, and he — he, also must have 
changed, not much for the better. 

"I am pleased to see you looking so well, Harald. 
You have had quite a time getting over your illness, 
I understand !" 

"I'm getting quite strong now, yes, thank you; 
and how are you and all the folks in the south?" 

Harald finished his errand. He should have taken 



98 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

a sack of flour home with him, but this he neglected. 
They walked down the road together, and there was 
much peeping through windows at them as they passed. 

"Father said I studied too hard last winter, and 
I agreed with him that a trip to Nordland would do me 
good. Your letters began it, and I am glad of it. I've 
had a splendid time thus far. I never appreciated the 
truth of Bjornson's poem before when he likens our 
many islands around the coast to water fowls swim- 
ming around their mother," Thora continued : 

"But I must tell you of your grandmother. She 
keeps up wonderfully well — and she's a philosopher, 
too, isn't she? I get her into my room every time she 
comes to Vangen, and loosen her stock of wisdom by 
coffee and cake. It's the best talk I ever hear ; it makes 
one feel that nothing in this world is too good for us, 
or beyond our reach." 

"I am glad she is well." 

"Your brother Holger is a big, stout boy; Jens 
herds the sheep, I understand; and Hulda is growing 
to be quite a girl. Your father is getting along well, 
I believe." 

Aunt Karen and the cousins received Thora with 
the respect due her station. In the sitting room that 
evening, Uncle Erik was considerate enough not to 
fill the air with tobacco smoke. Dagmar and Maria 
did not appear in dresses in anyway stained with bog 
and out-door work. Harald had donned the neat, 
brown clothes which he had recently obtained. Thora 
was dressed in a very simple, becoming suit of gray. 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 99 

"And you are traveling this long distance alone?" 
asked Aunt Karen, solicitously. 

"Oh no; I left father at Namsos, and will join him 
again at Tromso. His business prevented him from 
coming this way, but he thought I would be safe in 
the hands of my friends at Sandstad. I wish he could 
have come. I now see that travelers who hurry by, 
stopping only at the larger places, miss much of the 
charm of Nordland. It is the hidden nooks and corners 
that give the most pleasure in seeing." 

"So you think the country up here is worth looking 
at, do you?" enquired Uncle Erik. 

"I think it's just grand!" 

"Well, may be it is. The summer is well enough, 
I suppose, and especially to tourists whose living 
doesn't depend on the condition of the weather; but 
I sometimes think the icy Pole is slowly creeping down 
farther upon us, and will in time crowd us out. It's 
often a hard life up here in Nordland, Miss Bernhard." 

"But I was surprised to see the richness of your 
vegetation," continued Thora. "I saw fields of barley 
and potatoes when crossing the island today. The 
hills were covered with birch-trees, and in the open 
spaces there was much grass and a profusion of many- 
colored flowers." 

"Yes," replied Maria, "it is true as father says 
that life is ofttimes hard ; but for all that we who 
have lived here all our lives love our home, and would 
not change it for any other in the world. I once went 
south as far as Christiania, but the low hills and flat 
country soon wearied me, and I was glad to return to 



100 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

the wild, rocky land, the winding fjords, and the in- 
numerable islands of Nordland." 

"Tut, tut!" exclaimed the father, "a little imag- 
ination and romance. I always look at the real side of 
life." 

"I have noticed, however," replied Maria, "that 
the people who get tired of Nordland and move away, 
always return." 

"Always?" How about Lars Haling?" 

"Oh, well, he went to America." 

"That's where we all ought to go. What do you 
think, Miss Bernhard, about going to America?" 

"I — I don't know; Norway is good enough for 
me, just now." 

The talk went cherrily on until Aunt Karen came 
to Thora's rescue, as she had to Harald's the first 
evening he spent in Sandstad, and led her up to the 
neatly painted room above. 

Next morning there was threatening rain, but 
Thora urged Dagmar to take her out on the fjord 
and teach her how to fish with the Nordland pilk, or 
tin-bait. Harald might go along to row, she said. 
Dagmar agreed to this, so after the morning's work 
was finished, the three set out for the boat-house. 
Water-proofs were brought along in case wet weather 
might overtake them, and Harald carried their lines. 
He obediently took the oars, as he was good-naturedly 
commanded to do, and soon the boat was out in good 
fishing water. Dagmar then sank her line with the 
heavy tin-fish sinker down in the bottom, then drew 
it up an arm's length. She instructed Thora how 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 101 

to do the same. Harald rested on his oars and looked 
on. The pupil was instructed how to let the line 
slowly fall, then to jerk it upward swiftly. It was ex- 
plained that the fish, seeing the glitter of the descend- 
ing sinker, would take it for a small fish, and would 
make a dart for it. The swift upward movement would 
catch the fish on one of the two sharp hooks protrud- 
ing from the lower end of the tin-bait. Whenever 
Thora felt a struggle on her line, she was to rapidly 
pull up. For fully five minutes, both girls sawed with 
their lines the gunwales of the boat, but neither caught 
anything. Harald put up his oars and lay back in the 
boat. 

"Look here, Dagmar," he said, "don't saw the 
boat in two," at which they all laughed good-natur- 
edly. 

"My arm is getting tired," said Thora. 

"Try the other," suggested Dagmar. 

Then Dagmar had a bite. She pulled away with 
all her might, and Thora ceased to jerk her line in her 
interest in Dagmar ; but the fish got off before it 
reached the surface. Then Thora felt a movement on 
her line, and she was sure it was much heavier. Hand 
over hand she pulled in her line, and there, sure 
enough, was a little shining whiting about eight inches 
long. Harald took it from the hook and asked her 
how much a pound she wished for it. Thus the morn- 
ing passed very pleasantly. The threatened rain did 
not come, and quite a number of fish were caught. 

Just as they had decided to quit, Thora's line re- 
ceive A a sharp pull, and then became taut. She braced 



102 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

herself and pulled, giving a little scream as she did so, 
but the line pulled hard. 

"O, help me! help me!" she cried. 

Harald hastened to her side and took the line. 

"You have a big one," he said; "here, you pull 
it up, and I'll help you." So they both pulled, Harald 
taking care that he did no more than was necessary to 
avoid depriving her of the fun of catching a big, strug- 
gling fish. When it reached the surface, however, he 
got the hoat hook. They had caught, not a whiting 
nor a cod, but a big ugly stenbid or wolf-fish. As Har- 
ald caught it with his hook and threw it into the boat, 
it floundered around lively, closing its ugly mouth on 
an oar so hard that its big black teeth sank deep into 
the wood. 

"What if that had been your foot!" said Harald 
to Thora, after he had dispatched it with a number of 
sharp raps. 

Thora shuddered. She was quite pale for a mo- 
ment; then she laughed. 

"Ugh, what an ugly fish!" she said. 

That ended their fishing for the day. Harald 
said that Thora wished to quit because she was anxious 
to show her trophy on land. 

Thora established herself well in the opinion of 
the people of Sandstad, especially in the household of 
Erik Svensen. She was neither vain of mind nor 
showy in dress. She entered pleasantly into their 
daily affairs, and very much appreciated the effor.s put 
forth to entertain her. Her actions toward Harald 
were circumspect and prudently fitting to the *♦ lif- 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 103 

fererices in social station — so the gossipers said. After 
a day or two, when the first awkwardness had been 
overcome Harald was too much absorbed in a quiet hap- 
piness to do much analyzing. He was with her day after 
day. Her presence was enough ; let him bask in the sun- 
shine while it lasted. It would be time enough to reason 
about it on some cloudy day, or after the sun had gone 
down. 

Thora enjoyed herself very much. Sometimes she 
had Maria and the children with her in her rambles ; 
sometimes Dagmar went with her ; at other times all 
went together ; but seldom was Harald invited alone. 
They visited the sloop in the fjord and the drying 
grounds on the beach. The peat bog was inspected, 
and Thora soiled her hands in examining the various 
grades of peat, from the light porous article, cut at 
the top, to the dark, heavy cake, dug from the lowest 
layer. They climbed the mountains above Sand- 
stad, and they all took turns in looking through 
Thora's opera glass at the snow-capped mountains on 
the mainland. Thora gathered specimens of flowers 
not found further south. They fished in the lake for 
trout, and on the fjord for stenbid. Once when they 
were caught in a shower, they took shelter in a sum- 
mer-house on the hill-side, where they told stories 
until the storm passed. The days went rapidly, to 
Harald, as in a dream ; and then the week was up and 
Thora must leave. 

Then Harald awoke. Thora was going — and 
what of it? She could not stay at Sandstad forever. 
Her father would be waiting for her at Tromso. What 



104 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

was it to Harald Einersen, the fisherman? Had it 
been Harald Einersen the — well, something else, it 
might have made some difference, but now it possibly 
could not. Thora was going, and she did not seem 
to care — she would not understand how he would feel 
it. She was going — going out of his life — perhaps 
forever. The gulf between them was too deep. 

Then it came to him with the force of a shock: 
what had he done to bridge this gulf? what progress 
had he made to arise to her level? She might think 
much of him, yet she was helpless in the matter. It 
was he that must move, and that rapidly, if ever they 
should stand on equality. What puny castles he had 
built ! The owner of a boat — the master of four men 
at Lofoten — that had been the extent of it ! What a 
boy he had been ! But now he was a man. Now he 
would be a man, and do manly things. If it were not 
now too late ! Thora was going. The pleasant day 
was over. Night was coming, a cold, dark Nordland 
night. She had been a constant inspiration to him, 
and perhaps she could still continue to be that, even 
if nothing more than a will-o'-the-wisp to lead him on. 

Then Cousin Johan's words came again to him, 
ringing in his ears as a voice from the ocean. They 
spoke to him like an echo from over the hills of eter- 
nity. They stirred his heart as it had never been stirred 
before ; and then and there, Harald Einersen pro- 
jected another castle, and made a solemn vow that, 
with God's help, he would yet complete it from foun- 
dation stones to pinnacle. 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 105 

Thora was to board the coast steamer at Lund- 
holm, a small port a few miles from Sandstad. The 
steamer was due at Lundholm about midnight, and 
Harald was to take the passenger there in his sail 
boat. Dagmar said she would go along, too, but 
Thora said no. She bade them farewell with invita- 
tions for them to pay her a visit at Vangen some day. 
Harald carried her valise to the boat, helped her in, 
spread the sail to the breeze, and away they sailed. 

The night promised to be fair. The sky was 
clear, with the exception of a few soft clouds to the 
north. The sun sailed around into the northern sky, 
dipping lower and lower. As it neared the point of 
midnight, Thora called attention to the beautiful sea 
and sky, and Harald was willing that she should do 
the talking. He felt that he could not trust himself 
to say much. 

"I have had such a good time, Harald ; and I am 
ever so much obliged to you all. I'll tell grandmother 
all about it, when I reach home." 

"When do you expect to return to Vangen." 

"From Tromso, I'm going to North Cape with 
papa, and then I suppose we shall return directly 
home." 

Thora trailed her fingers through the water and 
looked down into the green waves as she asked, "Are 
you going to Lofoten next winter?" 

"Yes," that's the place to earn money, and I must 
have some. I don't like Lofoten any too well, since 
passing through what I have, but one earns more there 

8 



106 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

in three months than in a year at any other occupation 
in Nordland." 

tfT'suppose you will want to own a boat as Un- 
cle Erik?" 

"No; I want money to go to school. I'm going 
to school all I can — just fish long enough to keep me 
supplied with means." 

"And then?" 

"I don't know. Be something more than a mere 
fisherman, at least.'' 

"You'll want to graduate; that will take a long 
time." 

"Four or five years for that — ten for what I want 
to be." 

"That's a ljng time — " She had no idea of what 
he was thinking. 

"Yes ; but it takes persons who are at the bot- 
tom of the ladder longer to reach the top than those 
who are already half way up." 

"That depends pn the rate traveled by each." 

"True; and the strength of the force that drives 
one on." 

The boat rounded a headland, and Lundholm was 
in sight. 

"I think likely that I am through with school for 
a time," said she. Father wishes me to accompany him 
to England and perhaps farther, this fall, and I may 
be away for years." 

He was silent. It was too true, then, that she was 
going — going for good. Why didn't she say so, and be 
done with it? Why had she come to Nordland? He 



A WEEK WITH THORA. 107 

would give her back the withered rose. He could keep 
it no longer. He took it from between the leaves of 
his note book. She was looking at him, and he hesi- 
tated with nervousness ; but retreat he would not now. 
She was sitting with her back to the sail, directly facing 
him. He placed the rose in her lap, saying nothing. 

"What is it?" she asked. "A rose — and all with- 
ered. Where did you get it." 

"You gave it to me, and now I suppose you want 
it back." 

"I? yes — now I remember. O, Harald, don't you 
want it ?" Her voice trembled. 

"Yes, but — but — what's the use, Thora? You don't 
care for me. Why should I keep it as a continual re- 
minder of — of my foolishness— call it what you will?" 

"Don't say that, Harald." 

"What else can I say? You are going away. I 
may never see you again. I have been foolish in think- 
ing about you as I have, but I imagined that you loved 
me ; something that you have done, trifling things, have 
led me to believe it. You have been to me as yonder 
Polar star is to the mariner, but now — " 

"And why may I not be so still, Harald?" There 
were tears in her eyes now. "The Polar star never 
change s. ,r J 

The hour of midnight approaches. The sun sinks 
down behind the sea, yet it is as light as in the shade of 
noon-day. The breeze is gentle, and the sea is still, 
save for the shining swells which softly rise and fall. 
Then the sun comes forth again above the horizon. 
First appears its upper curved edge, then more and 



108 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

more it seems to rock up and down on the waves until 
it rises above the sea — a round, blood-red disk, making 
a shining path from the horizon to the boat, a path 
paved with shimmering blocks of purple and 
gold. The whole sea is now tinged with red light. 
The clouds around the sun are bathed in blood, and the 
crimson reflection is cast on hills and rocks, waves and 
boat. Thora's face is rose-colored, and her whole form 
is bathed in the same warm tint. The mountains and 
the distant islands are enwrapped in a trembling haze 
of red. It is a golden night. Its beauty enters the 
soul, and banishes fears and worldly sorrow. Care 
departs into the mellow atmosphere. Earth-troubles 
sink into this sea of peace, and are lost. Faith comes 
back — faith in man and faith in God. The world is no 
longer a gray, lifeless larva, but a full-grown butterfly, 
floating on its shining wings in the balmy air of sum- 
mer. 

Harald had never seen the midnight sun in such 
glory before. Often he had watched it sink behind the 
mountain or disappear into the sea, but such color 
effects, such still, sweet, grand beauty he had never 
witnessed. After all it may have been that he looked 
out from other eyes — the point of view is everything. 

The black smoke of the steamer appeared behind a 
headland, and soon the boat was in sight. Harald 
steered towards the anchorage and lay to, awaiting its 
coming. Out from the shore came the boatman with 
the mail. The water gurgled softly under their own 
boat, and the little waves lightly patted its sides — that 
was all they heard until the swish of the steamer broke 






A WEEK WITH THORA. 109 

the silence, churning the water with its reversed pro- 
peller. The iron door in the vessel's side was opened, 
the mail was exchanged, and Thora was helped in. 
From the doorway, she reached out her hand to Har- 
ald, in the boat alongside. He held it for an instant, 
then raised it to his lips. As he did so, the little with- 
ered rose which she was about to give him, slipped 
from her hand into the sea. and its dry, loose petals 
floated over the waves in every direction. The iron 
door was closed, the propeller churned the water again, 
and the steamer headed on its course. 

From the deck of the steamer, Thora waved her 
handkerchief as long as she could distinguish the little 
boat which lay dancing on the waves of the shining sea. 



110 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



PART SECOND. 
I. 

REMINISCENT. 

The rain came in great gushes from the storm- 
clouds as they were driven inland from the sea. It 
sputtered down the tin pipes from the roofs, and filled 
the gutters with a brown flood. Quite a number of 
people on the street had been caught unawares, and 
were making rapid strides for shelter. Among them 
was Harald Einersen, Head Master in the West Aker- 
by school. He, it seems, was rather more amused than 
annoyed over the fact that he had left his umbrella at 
home, and was now getting a good soaking. His fur 
cap soon became heavy, and the drops of water trickled 
down to the lowest point of his closely-trimmed beard. 
The gas lamps on the corner of the side-street up which 
he turned, cast their reflections on the wet stcae-pave- 
ment. The pools shone with light at the corner, but 
some distance away from the well-lighted windows of 
the business block, the mud resumed its usual, black 
color. Climbing up a number of steps, cut into the natural 
ledge of the hill, he soon turned into the hall of a house 
which stood on an elevation overlooking the town on 
one side and the sea on the other. 



REMINISCENT. Ill 

He stamped vigorously in the hall, and as he was 
hanging up his soaked coat and cap, a door opened and 
let in a stream of light. 

"Is that you, Einersen?'' some one asked. 

"What isn't washed away. That is what I call 
rain.'' Harald stepped into the dining room, where 
Mrs. Jacobsen scolded him for not taking his umbrella. 
He took it all good naturedly, and smiled the while — 
smiled in a way which indicated that something was to 
be covered up by it. 

"Had it been in Bergen, now, I might have caused 
a runaway," said he. 

"What do you mean?'" 

"Why, don't you know that in Bergen, when the 
horses see a man without an umbrella, they think him 
some strange object, get frightened, and run away!" 

Mrs. Jackson did not deign to encourage this lev- 
ity, so she made no reply, but busied herself with the 
table. 

"I do not wish any supper to night, explained Har- 
ald. "I had lunch down town, not long ago. If there's 
a fire, I'll go into my room now." 

His room was warm and cosy. The lamp was 
burning low on the table. He turned it up to a full 
blaze, then drew down the blinds to the windows. He 
heard the rain beat against the glass. Drawing his 
chair up to the stove, he leaned his elbow on the table, 
took an envelope from his pocket, and drew from it a 
letter, which he read carefully. Then folding it again, 
he replaced it in the envelope which he put into his 
pocket. He opened the top door of the stove, and sat 



112 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

for a long time intently looking at the red coals. * * 
* * * Another act in his life's drama was about to 
close ; soon, the curtain would fall. Well, perhaps the 
act just played had been long enough, and it was time 
for a change. For nearly four years Harald Einersen 
had lived at Akerby ; two years of that time, as a grade 
teacher, and nearly two years as Head Master ; but now 
he had resigned, because his resignation had been ex- 
pected, and the letter in his pocket stated that his ser- 
vices would not be needed longer, after the end of the 
term — and for this state of affairs, he could give thanks 
to his one-time acquaintance, the Reverend A. Bange 
who had recently been appointed to the district of 
Akerby. 

Harald felt in reminiscent mood, and thought it a 
good time for stock-taking ; so he went back to his boy- 
hood days at Opdal, and lived again in memory its 
hardships and pleasures ; then the moving to Nordland, 
and his fishing at Lofoten. One week especially of 
bright, summer weather at Sandstad was overflowing 
with remembrances ; then his second year at Lofoten, 
his saving, his pinching to gather money. Then came 
his four long years of school life, breaking off his stud- 
ies each year to catch cod with the Lofoten fleet. Oh, 
the joy, the hardships of those years ! At times, how 
short ; at other times, how long and painful ; but at last, 
the final examinations and his diploma! He remem- 
bered how that on the day after he received it, he sold 
enough of his personal property to buy a steamboat 
ticket to Vangen, from which point he walked up to 
Opdal. It was in the month of June, and the woods 



REMINISCENT. 113 

were delightful. He found his grandmother residing 
with his father. She was on her death bed, but when 
she saw Harald come in, she raised up from her pil- 
low, took his head between her thin hands and pressed 
it down on her shoulder. Then Harald produced his 
diploma, a large sheet which made a creaking noise 
when he unrolled it. and showed it to her. She under- 
stood in a minute what it was. though she could read 
only the large, printed words. Grandmother was satis- 
fied. A few days thereafter, she died. 

And then he obtained the school at Akerby. and 
did SO well in his work that he was promoted to Head 
Master. 

Harald arose from his seat, poked the fire, then 
aimlessly rearranged some books on the table. He took 
down a violin from the wall, tightened some of its 
strings, scraped the bow across it a number of times, 
then replaced the instrument. On the wall hung an old- 
fashioned clock whose weights reached to the floor. 
He pushed the heavier weight up, then returned to his 
chair by the stove. 

/?o~ "Tar he had realized every proper ambition of 
his life — save one — and they had been many. He now 
smiled at some of these simple, childish castles, which 
had long since been built, then torn down to make room 
for others. These were some of them : to get away 
from herding sheep ; to get enough to eat ; to have a 
suit of clothes made by a tailor ; to become a fisherman ; 
to be able to handle a boat in a storm ; to be master and 
owner of a boat at Lofoten, (this latter he could have 
been, as he had money enough to purchase one) ; to 



114 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

make his grandmother comfortable ; to become a 
schoolmaster ; to — well, no — one castle was yet unbuilt. 
The foundation stones had been laid long years ago, 
and he had yet hopes that under the rank, dead grass 
tli at covered them, there still lay the solid rocks fit to 
bear a beautiful superstructure. 

Harald's eyes wandered from the fire, and rested 
upon a photograph standing on his table. Moving it 
into a better light, he looked steadily at it. It was the 
same Thora Bernhard that he had seen years ago, but 
now a woman in very deed. The face was fuller, but 
there were the same large eyes, full, shapely mouth, 
wavy hair, and sweet, sad expression. Her signature 
was underneath, dated at Paris. That little trip to Nord- 
land, eight years ago, had been the initiative, for Thora 
had traveled the world over, since. She had fre- 
quently written to him, telling of the sights in other 
lands, and he had answered, informing her of his 
progress at school. She had appeared pleased at the 
good news. On three occasions when he had been at 
Opdal, Thora had been away from home, so he had not 
seen her. Once, when she was at Bergen, he had made 
an effort to meet her, but he imagined that she wished 
to evade him ; so from that time on, he was very care- 
ful. Her last letter bore a date two years old, but the 
photograph had been received less than a year ago. 
The signature bore proof that she was yet Miss Thora 
Bernhard ; and, as he gazed intently at it under the 
lamplight on his table, bright, beautiful hope swelled 
anew within his heartTj 

The postman's knock aroused Harald. and he went 



REMINISCENT. 115 

to the door. In his mail was a letter from Nordland, 
from Uncle Erik. It recounted, first of all, that the 
season had been cold ; the hay had barely been saved, 
and the barley had to be cut green. Last season's fish- 
ing at Lofoten, however, had been good. Uncle Erik 
was not well enough to go, but his boats had done well. 
Dagmar was happily married, and lived in Maria's 
former home. Maria still lived with father and moth- 
er, and the children were growing big and wise. 

So, cousin Dagmar was married at last! Well, 
she had been long enough about it. Married happily — 
good for Dagmar — she deserved a good husband. And 
they now lived in Maria and Jchan's cosy house under 
the clifTs. He remembered the picture that had formed 
itself in his mind the day that he had sailed across the 
fjord with Dagmar, and he smiled at the remembrance. 
Castle-building was such a pleasant occupation, any- 
way. What if all did not reach completion or the 
stage of realization ! Material for more was unlimited, 
and it cost nothing, save the pleasing task of gather- 
ing ; and so, true to this theory, Haj^kL^asJie reviewed, 
the phofograjh^hpforp hjjT|. hi ijl^ an ntl]pr_ castle : 

Thora stood in the doorway looking down the 
road for his coming. Her beautiful hair hung in two 
long braids down her shoulders — that was to please 
him. The white apron was a sign that dinner was 
ready. The house was a low, wooden structure, one 
of those airy, summer buildings which the well-to-do 
Norwegians were erecting, adorned with many pro- 
jections and odd carvings. At the rear stood the un- 
broken pine forest. In the foreground was a small 



116 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

patch of grass, with a path leading down from the 
door to the road which skirted the edge of the fjord. 
Mrs. Jacobsen knocked at his door, and the picture 
vanished. Would he not have some coffee and bread 
and butter, before he went to bed? but he declined, 
with thanks, much to his good landlady's disappoint- 
ment. He replenished the fire, and then made an effort 
to look over some affairs pertaining to his school work ; 
but his mind wandered. Why had Pastor Bange again 
crossed his path? He entertained an aversion for the 
man, ever since their meeting at Lofoten, and it seemed 
that the pastor had neither forgotten nor forgiven 
Harald for the stand he had taken that day at his 
cousin's burial. As there would be no use in resenting 
the pastor's interference, the best thing for Harald 
to do was to resign as gracefully as possible, which he 
had done. Perhaps he had been unwise in the active 
part he had taken in politics during the past year. Per- 
haps, also, he had expressed his religious views rather 
freely, for his own worldly good, at least. Certainly, 
he neither could nor would change his most sacred be- 
liefs in the hopes of worldly preferment or gain. He 
had been compelled, because of his position, to present, 
at least, an outward form of orthodoxy, but had often 
of late asked himself if he were doing right, even in 
that, when at heart he did not believe in many of the 
creeds and practices of the state religion. Many times 
Johan Bernsen's definition of religion came to him, and 
especially since he had become better acquainted with 
the laws of nature as revealed in the arts and sciences. 
Perhaps, after all, it was well that he was to get out of 



REMINISCENT. 117 

the teaching profession. A man had no business to 
teach something which he, himself, did not thoroughly 
believe. 

Did the face in the picture before him, smile? 
Harald Einersen. your imagination is very vivid to 
night, tie went out. The rain had ceased. A steam- 
er, all aglow with lights, was sailing across the bay. 
The town below him had grown quiet. The wind 
blew strong, and the waves were heard beating against 
the rocks below. Harald looked up into the sky. The 
clouds were scurrying by, now and then revealing 
patches of deep blue. Up towards the zenith he be- 
held the Polar Star immovably fixed in the heavens, 
shining brightly and steadily, bringing to his mind 
Thora and her words uttered that night on the fjord in 
Nordland. 



118 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



II. 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 

Harald Einersen's dreams did not always end with 
the day. It was towards midnight that evening when 
he fell asleep, and then he had a strange dream. He 
thought he stood on a hill overlooking a wide, green 
valley. As he gazed, wondering where he was, his 
grandmother came up the grassy slope towards him. 
There was nothing strange in the meeting, but it 
seemed that there had been no long separation. She 
spoke very earnestly, somewhat in her old manner, 
bidding him always defend the right and honor the 
truth, no matter how difficult the task might seem. Then 
what appeared to be another woman came up the hill. 
She had in her arms shoots and roots of flowers and 
shriibbery, which, when she reached Harald, she placed 
on the ground. She approached him, took both his hands 
in hers, leaned over and touched her lips to his cheek ; 
then picking up her plants again, she disappeared. 
Then he knew that his mother had kissed him. After 
this, Johan Bernsen came in sight, and following him, 
other men and women whom he did not know. These 
did not climb the hill, but pursued their journey down 
the valley. Johan waved his hand towards Harald as 
he passed. Men continued to come faster and faster, 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 119 

more and more, great crowds of them, till they seemed 
to fill the valley, reaching to the horizon. Still they 
came, thousands, millions of them. The sight filled 
him with awe ! The men were strong and stalwart, 
many of them with beards and long hair; the women 
were also wonderfully robust and beautiful, their hair 
falling in waves over their shoulders. The whole 
throng reminded him of the picture he had seen of his 
forefathers, the Vikings, as they appeared unequipped 
for war. As the throngs surged onward, Harald re- 
treated further up the hill, fearful that he would be 
trampled underfoot. 

"Fear not," said a voice at his side, and there stood 
his father, "these are Norsemen — your ancestors and 
mine, brave, noble, and virtuous. They lived according 
to the light which God gave to them, and that is all 
any of us can do." 

Harald awoke in the morning, with the announce- 
ment from his landlady that his coffee was ready. He 
drank it as usual, from the small table at his bedside, 
sipping it with his pieces of cut sugar — but the dream 
remained with him all the day. 

When it became known that the Head Master of 
West Akerby school was about to resign his position, 
speculation became rife as to the reason. Mr. Einer- 
sen had certainly done his duty everybody said. He 
was well liked, both by teachers and students. His pol- 
itical friends especially asked him what was the cause 
of his action, but they received no satisfactory reply. 
The fact was that Harald himself was not sure of the 
cause of his removal. He supposed that Pastor Bange 



120 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

had something to do with it, but to what extent he did 
not know. He made up his mind not to make a stir 
about it — the change would give him a rest, and a 
chance, perhaps, at other labor — but for his own satis- 
faction, he desired to know the status of his case. He 
would go to Pastor Bange and ask. 

Harald no sooner came to this conclusion than he 
acted. The lamps were being lighted in the streets 
when he rang the bell at the parsonage. He had vis- 
ited there many times when the former pastor was its 
occupant, but this call was his first since Pastor Vaag 
had removed. A girl came to the door and ushered 
him into the stuffy little room in which the provider 
for men's souls received his visitors. The girl lighted 
a hanging-lamp and went about her duties. 

Harald seated himself on a very much-worn sofa. 
On the wall opposite hung a picture which had always 
given him the "shivers." It represented Christ on the 
cross, the crown of thorns piercing the flesh, and 
streams of blood flowing down the face, and, what an 
expression of horror the artist had concentrated 
in that face ! How could people tolerate such alleged 
art in their best room ! 

The door quietly opened, and Pastor Bange 
stepped in. The clergyman had aged considerably 
during his Nordland experience, but his face still bore 
that sanctimonious smile so characteristic of many 
preachers. The lips and chin were clean-shaven. The 
hair was thick, long, and mixed with gray. Two strag- 
gling tufts reached down upon each round, sleek cheek. 

Harald arose, and the pastor shook his hand, smil- 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 121 

ing placidly all the while, his teeth gleaming in the 
lamp-light. Harald sat down, and the pastor rested in 
a chair by the table under the lamp. 

"You are looking well, Pastor Bange," said Har- 
ald. He saw no use in being too blunt. "Nordland 
must have agreed with you." 

"I try to make any part of the Lord's vineyard, 
to which His pleasure calls me, agreeable with me," 
was the reply. 

"Very sensible, that," said Harald. "In life's var- 
ious up's and down's, it is a blessing to be able to ad- 
just one's self to each change." 

"Yes; and a change is ofttimes for the best." Har- 
ald thought he detected a little aggressiveness in his 
tone, so he was reserved no longer. 

"What I came to see you about, Pastor Bange, is 
this resignation which I have been asked to hand in. 
I'm not going to find fault with it at all, as I intended 
not to teach much longer, anyway ; but you know, folks 
will talk — while I believe I have given satisfaction to 
most of our people — yet, for my own assurance, I 
should like to know why I am asked to resign. 

The pastor said nothing, but his smile was as bland 
as ever. 

"You know something about it, don't you?" 

"Oh, yes," said the pastor. 

"You had something to do with it?" 

"Yes, I had something to do with it." 

"And what is the fault ? may I ask." 

"Well, Mr. Einersen, I wish to be plain with you. 
It is part of my duty, you know, to look after the edu- 

9 



122 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

cational interests of the people in my parish. I must 
see that the pure principles of Christianity are taught in 
our schools ; and if I am anything of a shepherd of the 
fold of Christ, I must see that wolves are driven away." 

"I am a wolf, then?" 

"Ah, no ; that was a mere figure, you understand. 
I wouldn't say that ; but your Christian teaching — I 
mean your teaching of our holy religion, has never 
been very strong — it has been very weak, in fact; and 
there is always danger of our children drifting into 
heresies, or even into infidelity, altogether, if we are 
too loose in this respect." 

"Have I been teaching heresies?" 

"Yes." 

"I am not aware of it. Will you please explain?" 

"Yes, I will. You remember sometime ago in the 
class in physics, you were talking about the qualities of 
matter — you remember, don't you ?" 

"I remember, very well." 

"You said that matter could not be destroyed ; it 
could only be changed in form." 

"The text-book said that." 

"Well ; then one of the students asked how it is 
that, if matter could not be destroyed, it could be cre- 
ated. You, if I am informed rightly, explained that 
matter is as uncreatable as it is indestructible. You 
said that substance is eternal. Then the boy — you re- 
member him — said that he had learned in his catechism 
that God created the world out of nothing. Where- 
upon, you explained that the Bible did not teach that — 
it was merely the catechism." 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 123 

It was Harald's turn to smile at the recollection 
of the event which the pastor had narrated correctly 
enough. 

"Of course. Pastor Bange." said Harald, "that was 
the only thing in reason that I could say." 

"You implied that the catechism was wrong." 

"Certainly ; when it came to a conflict between 
the catechism ami the text-hook on science, I decided 
in favor of the text-book." 

"f.ut the catechism teaches our children the Chris- 
tian religion, and when you deride it. you weaken the 
faith of the learner 

"lint 1 could not knowingly teach an untruth for 
nil that." 

"Teach an untruth ! Don't you believe in the holy 
scriptures ?" 

"I do; but tlie scriptures nowhere teach that God 
made the world out of nothing. There's a Bible. Show 
me ?" 

"No; we'll not discuss the matter further *' 

The pastor arose and walked to his desk in the 
corner ; but Harald remained seated. Pastor Bange 
saw that his visitor was not going, so he returned to 
die seat by the table. He kept his composure very 
well. 

"That. Mr. Einersen, is but a sample of your un- 
orthodox teachings," continued the pastor. "I don't 
say that you have meant any harm in it, but I will say 
that I consider it very unwise to keep you in your 
present position as Head Master of West Akerby 



124 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

School." The movement of the lips was meant for a 
smile. 

"Well, Pastor Bange, I am pleased that you have 
spoken so plainly to me ; and now while we are about it, 
I may as well speak plainly, too — I hope you will not 
leave" — but the pastor simply arose to adjust the lamp- 
wick — "I want you to understand me, so that, if in the 
future we ever have dealings with each other, there 
will be a mutual understanding." 

"Yes ;" and the preacher clasped his hands pious- 
ly in front of him. 

"I claim to be a Christian," continued the school- 
master. "I believe in Christ. I believe in the Bible, 
though there are many things there I cannot under- 
stand. I believe there are many good doctrines taught 
by the Evangelical Lutheran church. I also believe 
there are many truths in the Methodist church, in the 
Baptist church, and, in fact, in all churches. I am broad- 
minded enough not to judge other men's faiths. I am 
liberal enough, thank God, to allow all men a right to 
their beliefs. I never want to become so bigoted that 
I would deprive a fellow-being of a Christian burial, 
for instance" — the pastor did not wince at the thrust — 
"I am willing to accept truth from whatever source it 
comes. I hope I shall be ever willing to discard all 
error, when my reason decides that it is error. As to 
saying that the Lutheran church is repository of all 
God's truth, that is ridiculous. The church teaches — 
mind you, I do not say the Scriptures — many things 
that I have my doubts about. So, Pastor Bange, from 
your standpoint, I suppose you are justified in usung 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 125 

your influence in having me removed from my posi- 
tion.". 

"Are you through?" 

"Yes; I am through." 

"Then you'll excuse me, I know. I have an ap- 
pointment in twenty minutes to preach at a missionary 
meeting, down in Strand street." 

Both arose, and Harald hastened out. The self- 
contained old priest smiled at him from the doorway, 
as he proceeded down the path. 

Harald did not go home ; the evening was pleas- 
ant; the winter air was crisp. The fog had lifted, and, 
on such nights, he took delight in viewing the harbor 
or strolling along the strand, out from the town. To- 
night, his desire for a walk was strong, so he strode 
briskly down Storgadcn, across the market place, to the 
opening by the wharves. Here a fisher woman was 
swinging her arms to keep warm, and was trying to 
dispose of her last cod at sacrifice prices. Harald 
knew all the fisherwomen. During the day, there were 
many of them, and he usually stopped to chat with 
them ; but this one lone woman out in the cold, at- 
tracted him especially that night. 

"Good evening, mother," he said, as he approached 
her, "haven't you sold out yet?" 

"Not yet, professor," said the woman, with a 
curtesy. 

The school master took up two cod fish from the 
woman's barrow — all she had. 

"Pretty fine fish," he said, "but I have caught bet- 
ter ones. How much are they worth?" 



126 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"I paid twenty-five ore each for them. You may 
have them for that, seeing they are the last, and I can't 
keep them over." 

"All right, here's your money. Now pack up, and 
go home." 

The woman willingly did so, after she had 
wrapped the fish in a newspaper and handed them to 
the purchaser. Then she trudged off with her barrow. 
Harald followed her, until she had passed the market 
square, and then he stopped her. 

"Here, mother, how often do you eat fresh fish?" 

"Not very often, sir." 

"Well, / can't cook these fish, and I haven't a wife 
to cook them for me ; so I'll give them to you, if you 
will promise not to go back and try to sell them again, 
but take them home and eat them yourself." 

The woman looked at him and hesitated. Then 
she promised, taking the fish with apologies and pro- 
fuse thanks. 

"Tut, tut," said the school master, "have a good 
supper tonight, and be sure you take out the livers and 
make molje for the children." 

Harald went on down the street towards the 
water. "It was worth fifty ore," he said to himself, 
"to get such a look from a woman's eyes, as that fish- 
erwoman gave me." 

A Salvation Army lass sold him a War Cry. As 
he looked under the ugly poke bonnet at the pretty 
face of the girl, the thought came to Harald that there 
was a brave soul. Indifferent to the scorn of the 
world, she went about doing her duty, as she under- 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAXD. 127 

stood it. Would Pastor Bange, would he, himself, do 
as much ? Yet Pastor Bange would say that she was a 
poor, deluded soul, and Harald, also, was in danger of 
judging her. 

As he neared the water where the warehouses were, 
a strong odor of roasted coffee reached him. He hur- 
ried by, as the smell was never agreeable to him. As 
he passed "The Sailor's Home," he heard a merry 
company within : the sailor was on land again. Then 
he strode out on the open beach, where he loved to 
walk. He enjoyed feeling the firm yet yielding sand 
under his feet. Cliffs arose on one side; the water 
stretched far away on the other — and he was between. 
The rocks, immovable, bold, resisting ; the sea, endless, 
powerful, restless. Here the elements displayed their 
majesty and power. The sea waged eternal warfare, 
yet the cliff laughed only, or roared, according to the 
fury of the onslaught. "Give me time," said the Sea, 
"and I will conquer you, I will grind you to atoms, and 
give you to the winds, or line my own bed with you — 
just give me time." But what then? Would the moun- 
tain be destroyed ? Only the form ; the material would 
be there. The earth might melt with fervent heat ; 
the ocean be turned into mist ; the whole globe might 
be ground into dust, yet the dust would be somewhere. 
Yet the world was made out of nothing — made out of 
nothing! Harald laughed aloud at such heights of ab- 
surdity. 

His mind reverted to the interview with Pastor 
Bange. What a smooth man the pastor was ! how 
strange that nearly all preachers whom he had known 



128 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

partook somewhat of the same bland nature ! Why 
should ministers of the gospel dress, and talk, and act, 
as if they belonged to another caste? Why should the 
study of religion make men foolish or unnatural ? Bet- 
ter, then, return to the ancient, heathen worship of the 
forefathers. Their religion made them at least strong, 
and brave, and just; while the products of modern 
Christianity were, to an alarming extent, dull, and 
weak, and immoral. 

Harald had never delved very deeply into religion. 
True, he had taken the usual superficial course of Bibli- 
cal theology, but any profound thought he had never 
bestowed upon it. Perhaps the nearest he had got to 
a true religious feeling was when he sat with his 
grandmother reading the Bible for her. At confirma- 
tion, the principal impression was that, if he passed, 
he would be through with the priest. His later school 
studies had been mostly of a secular character. Yet 
Harald had a strong religious nature, perhaps more 
after the manner of that expressed by his cousin Johan 
than that exhibited by the clergy of the day. 

On his way home Harald passed through Strand 
street. As he neared the mission church there, he re- 
membered that Pastor Bange was to preach. The 
church was full of people, and Harald slipped in, and 
stood by the door. An unusual occasion must have 
brought together the unusually large crowd. Pastor 
Bange was summing up his arguments, which, Harald 
learned, were against certain heresies that had lately 
crept into their midst. The most dangerous of these doc- 
trines was that of hope for the departed, who have died 



PASTOR BANGE TAKES A HAND. 129 

unrepentant; that is, salvation for the dead. "We have 
nothing in Holy Writ to justify us in the belief that 
those who do not come to Christ in this life will ever 
have a chance in the life to come.'' ***** 
"We have nothing here," and the pastor closed his Bi- 
ble with a slam "we have nothing here inspiring the 
belief that the heathen will be saved, but we have many 
words of God which distinctly doom them to the ever- 
lasting torments of hell — let us pray." 

A shudder went through Harald. He stood per- 
fectly still, staring straight at the preacher, hearing 
every word of that prayer, which was : 

f"We thank Thee, O Lord, that we knozv there is 
no solvation for the dead; that in this life only, we have 
hope of salvation; that now is the accepted time of 
grace; that the gates of heaven are now open day and 
night — yea, zvidc open, and the sinner may freely come 
to Thee. Yea, Lord, we thank Thee that zee are not 
tempted to sin now, by believing that there is hope be- 
yond the grave. Help us, Lord, to love Thee for 
this, and give Thy name the praise and honor. Amen." 

Some deep feeling of the heart was touched in 
Harald Einersen. He could not analyse it; he could 
not describe it; but he knew its chief element was 
resentment. All else was chaos. He hardly knew how 
he reached home that night, j 



130 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



III. 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 



"We thank Thee, Lord, that there is no salva- 
tion for the dead." 

Harald could not forget the words. They rang 
in his ears day and night. The last days of his princi- 
palship of the West Akerby school approached, and 
he had much work to do; but in every pause, he heard 
the words, 'There is no salvation for the dead;" and 
then, "We thank Thee, O Lord, for it." "It's a bless- 
ing this school business is coming to an end," he 
thought. Then again he doubted his own conclusions, 
for with school work he did have something definite 
to occupy his mind. What would he do when, all day 
long, the devil would have opportunity to whisper the 
damnable words into his ears ! 

When the public began to realize that Head Mas- 
ter Einersen had been forced out of his position by ec- 
clesiastical pressure, there was considerable uproar ; 
but he did not take it as a calamity, and informed all 
who asked him about it that he was glad of the change. 

On the evening that his term expired, Harald 
heaved a sigh of relief; but something told him that 
as one burden was gone, another and much greater was 
coming. In the past, he had been able to shake off an- 
noying thoughts, but now some religious questions 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 131 

would not away, and he saw more approaching in the 
distance. He would have to meet them ; why show a 
coward's fear? Surely, they could be met and dis- 
posed of. 

"There is no salvation for the dead!" "You lie!" 
Harald hissed the words aloud. He was on the street, 
and had caught a glimpse of Pastor Bange. Harald 
was alone — he was thankful no one heard him. 

The day was before him, so, after a vigorous 
tramp through the town, he climbed the stone steps on 
his way home again. Replenishing the fire, he took down 
his Bible, the leather-back one, scratched and stained 
with sea water, which he had received as a memento 
of his friend. He read for a time that he might observe 
if the reading should have the same effect on him as 
it once had on Johan. Having read for ten minutes, 
he went to the window and raised the blind. The sun 
shone brightly, and a great yellow stream entered the 
room. He paced back and forth not being able to read. 
The photograph on the table had fallen from the easel, 
and lay face down on the cloth. He looked at it for a 
moment and then continued his walking. 

"Yes, Thora, you might well hide your face from 
me," he said. He remembered his dream of some 
nights previous, and again saw the mighty hosts of 
Norsemen. They had never heard of Jesus Christ. 
They had never heard of Christianity. They were 
doubtless marching to their final destruction, when he 
beheld them in vision — on, on, the multitude of brave 
men and beautiful women, on — on — to hell ! 

The heathen could not be saved. A heathen is 



132 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"one who does not worship the God of the Jew or the 
Christian" — so his dictionary gave it. His forefathers 
were heathens, therefore, they could not be saved. Well, 
they would have much company. Out of the millions 
who have lived on this earth, a very small fraction 
ever knew of Christ. Of the millions now living, only 
about one-third were Christians, and only a small part 
of the so-called Christians were Christian at heart. 
Nothing else could count, of course. So, after all, a 
mere handful would be saved. What a small place 
heaven must be, and how immense must be the bord- 
ers of hell ! 

And God arranged all this. He made the earth — 
what knowledge of the laws of nature he must have! 
He formed man and placed him on the earth to run his 
little race. He gave him intelligence, a reasoning mind ! 
He made him sensitive to joy and pain. He placed 
within his mind ambitions, and made it a part of his 
nature to yearn for eternal life and its possibilities. He 
implanted in his heart the sweet and tender plant 
which grows and expands until it entwines its delicate 
tendrils around wife and children — and they become as 
strong as bands of steel — and then, and then — they are 
all damned eternally ! 

Harald remembered having once read a book 
which related the story of a boy who had figured that 
every time the clock ticked, a soul went to hell. At 
every tick, a heathen died. Tick, tock — to hell they 
went Tick, tock — two more. 

Johan and grandmother had been among the 
crowds that he had seen in his dream. If ever there 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 133 

were or had been a Christian, his grandmother was 
one; but what about Johan Bernsen? Pastor Bange 
had said that Johan was not a Christian. Pastor Bange 
ought to know, if anyone knew. If Johan was not a 
Christian, had not been confirmed, had not associated 
himself with the church, he must have been a heathen — 
and heathens go to hell. 

And hell is a place where the souls of men and 
women suffer excruciating torment eternally. 

"Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched." Men and women! Oh, surely not beau- 
tiful, tender, nerve-filled woman, who bears the bur- 
dens of the world, and in motherhood willingly goes 
near to the gates of death ! Surely not woman, surely 
not such a sweet-faced woman as kissed him in his 
dream, or one like ." 

Harald's face was ashen gray. His hands trem- 
bled. The muscles of his lips twitched painfully. He 
had been pacing the floor, but now sank helplessly in 
his chair, by the table, staring vacantly into the fire. 

With rude hands, Horror had seized him, and he 
seemed to struggle in vain. The more he thought, 
the more he reasoned, the deeper became the gulf of 
dismay. The perspiration moistened his face, and he 
wiped it away with his kerchief. 

Why should he worry, anyway? He was a be- 
liever. He could be saved. Why vex himself about 
others ? But the thought, the principle ! Why should 
God, Who is all wise and all powerful, make a 1 plan for 
the salvation of mankind seemingly imperfect, so un- 
just, so cruel ! If Christ is the only name under heaven 



134 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

whereby men may be saved — and he knew the scrip- 
tures taught that — why had not provisions been made 
for His name to be heard by every kindred, tongue, and 
nation from the creation down? In all fairness, it ap- 
peared reasonable that every soul should have had a 
chance. 

Then the feeling of resentment again arose with- 
in him. Christian doctrine is founded on the Bible. 
Did the Bible teach such abominable doctrine as that? 
If so, he would throw the book into the fire! 

But he did not do that; and, shortly, he was 
ashamed of himself for the thought. Again he went to 
the window. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon — he 
had thought it night. He went out, and down on the 
busy market place where he met his old friend Pastor 
Jensen of the Methodist church, who was just then 
buying a roast for the next day's dinner. Securing 
his package, the preacher slipped his arm into Har- 
ald's, and the two walked on together. Pastor Jensen 
began to speak sympathetically about the head master's 
losing his position, but Harald apparently, did not 
heed. Suddenly he looked into the parson's face and 
asked : 

"Tell me, Pastor Jensen, do you believe there is 
any salvation for the dead?" 

The surprised pastor managed to answer that cer- 
tainly those who had died in the Lord were saved. 

"But what about those who do not die in the 
Lord? Are they in hell?" 

"Well, now, dear Mr. Einersen, you do startle me 
— but I might say that we have no assurance in God's 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 135 

word that the unbeliever, or the heathen, will have an 
opportunity in the next world. You see, such a doc- 
trine would be very dangerous, indeed, and — " 

"So you believe that all our forefathers, men, 
many of whom were better than we, are now burning 
in hell?" 

He suddenly let go the preacher's arm and turned 
another corner. Pastor Jensen stood staring at the 
retreating figure, wondering what it all meant. 

"Number two," said Harald. "I might as well go 
the rounds, and finish this unpleasant business." 

He was not far from the meeting rooms of the 
Indre Mission, the home missionary department of the 
state church. The presiding parson resided in the 
rear of the rooms, and there Harald went. Pastor 
Skabo was at home, and he greeted this visitor warmly. 
Harald did not wish to be rudely abrupt, so the conver- 
sation was brought around smoothly to the subject. 
Pastor Skabo was surprised that anyone should doubt 
the great religious truth that when a person dies, he 
either goes to the arms of Jesus or to the regions of 
darkness. No ; he could see no hope, in the hereafter, 
for the heathen. He was very emphatic on the point 
that this life fixed every soul's eternal destiny. 

/HThen," said Harald, as he took his hat and arose 
to go, "Solon and Pericles, with all the great and wise 
men of ancient Greece ; Leondias and his three hundred 
brave Spartans who perished at Thermopylae ; Socrates, 
the philosopher, who taught the immortality of the 
soul, and who died for his convictions ; the wise Plato 
and his followers — all — all were heathens, and, there- 




.. -A 



136 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

fore, went to hell when they died, are there now, and 
will remain there throughout the endless ages of eter- 
nity ! Impossible !" Harald bowed himself out) 

On the street, he laughed to himself when he 
thought of how he had startled the good pastor by his 
expressions. So far, no deviation. He would try the 
little Baptist minister who had lately arrived. 

The Baptist seemed to think that he had a pros- 
pective convert in the earnest young man, but Harald 
went away having learned nothing new. Next he 
called on an Adventist preacher who had held forth 
in a tent as long as the weather permitted, but who, 
as he explained, had not been able to secure a hall for 
winter use. The Adventist talked Scripture as if he 
knew the Bible from memory, but Harald again went 
away empty. 

A fog threatened to settle down over the town. 
Darkness came on, and Harald felt extremely tired. 
Perhaps he had accomplished enough for one day so 
he directed his steps homeward. He could scarcely 
climb the steps to the house. Mrs. Jacobsen was very 
solicitous. What a comfort she was ! The warm beef- 
soup tasted delicious. When he went to bed, which 
he did early, he soon fell into a sound sleep. 

Next morning his mind was much more quiet, 
though the effects of its riotous workings the day be- 
fore were visible in the general haggardness of his 
face. He announced to his landlady that he would 
take a sail around the coast as far as Christiania, for 
a rest. She agreed with him that change of air and 
^ scenery would do him good. 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 13 



-7 



He packed a small valise, and that same evening 
boarded the coast steamer He enjoyed life on board 
ship, being sailor enough to avoid sickness in a rough 
sea. When the strong wind blew, and the waves 
danced merrily over the sea, he always paced the deck, 
where he gathered new life in breathing the bracing sea 
air, while the vessel steadily pushed its way through 
the angry waves. 

At one of the stopping points, quite a fleet of fish- 
ing boats were making for an outer island where her- 
ring had been reported. The boats sailed by the steam- 
er, and there were jolly crews in them. Harald had an 
instant's longing to jump into one, and to take part in 
the coming catch. One boat contained a man and two 
strong, healthy-looking girls who sang as they went 
by: 

Oh, ho, oh, ho! the herring is coming! 
The breezes are humming! 

Aloft flies the sail. 
The sea gulls are teeming, 
And fighting and screaming, 

Adrift on the gale. 

When the steamer pointed northward into the 
Christiania fjord the ice became troublesome. Had 
it not been that a short distance ahead of them a large 
ocean steamer was smashing it and clearing a pas- 
sage, there would have been danger of a blockade ; but 
as it was, the coast steamer slowly made its way 
through the floating ice. 

There was a pleasant company of passengers on 



10 



t 



138 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

board, and the conversations in the salon were restful 
enough. Harald listened attentively to a commercial 
man's stories, one of which reminded him of his 
grandmother. 

"When I was a lad about twelve," said the nar- 
rator, resting his arms on the table in front of him, "my 
mother and I walked a distance of sixty miles and back. 
My grandmother resided that distance from us, away 
back in the country, and it was no uncommon thing 
for my mother to get a longing to see her mother. 
Well, as I was saying, on one of these occasions, father 
was away the whole summer, and, as there was no one 
to stay with me, I was obliged to accompany her. I 
was not easily tired out in those days, but, oh ! how my 
limbs did ache every night. Mother continued for 
hours along the road, knitting as she walked. I 
trudged by her side or lagged behind, as my disposition 
or condition allowed, and behind us came the pig." 

"The pig!" exclaimed a lady on the opposite side 
of the table. 

"Yes ; mother's domestic animals shared a good 
deal of her attention, and the pigs especially followed 
her anywhere. I remember that pig yet, and what a 
worry it was to mother to keep it clean. She washed 
it as clean as a new brush — oh, it was a very small, 
young pig, madam — and then she would comb its hair 
— no, oh, no; she didn't put its tail in papers to make 
it curl ; if I remember rightly, its tail was naturally 
curly. When the pig got tired, and wanted to lag, 
mother would coax it on with pieces of sugar." 

"Why did she allow the pig to go with you? r 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 139 

"It was a present to mother's mother." 

"That reminds me," began another passenger; 
but Harald did not remain longer. 

One day, down in the second cabin, Harald saw 
a Bible lying open on the table. As no one was present 
at the time, he picked up the book and began to read. 
Presently, a young man came in, who sat down oppo- 
site Harald and watched the reader closely. When the 
latter looked up, the young man asked : 

" 'Understandest thou what thou readest?' " 

" 'How can I, except some man should guide me," 
answered Harald. 

"The word of God is easily understood by those* 
who will understand," said he. 

"Some parts may be, but others are not," replied 
Harald. "If the Bible is so easily understood, why are 
there so many interpretations of it? All sects base 
their creeds on the Bible, yet each understands its 
teachings differently. I go to one denomination, and 
they prove to me from the Scriptures that they are 
right, and all the rest are wrong. I go to another, with 
the same result. I've come to the conclusion that you 
can find in the Bible anything you wish to find." 

"Yes, yes," replied the other, "but it all amounts 
to this, after all: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ 
and you shall be saved." 

"I know that is the argument of last resort with 
religionists, but no sensible man can read his Bible, 
and believe that such a conclusion is the sum of the 
matter. If the Bible teaches anything at all, it teaches 



140 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

that there is something to do as well as to think, or to 
say. But what that is, I haven't got clear." 

"Come to Jesus," said the young man. 

"Another stock phrase containing nothing defi- 
nite. How shall I come? where? when? what does it 
mean to give your heart? I have never found that 
Jesus explained coming to Him to mean that one 
should kneel on a penitent bench and cry. You 
preachers — I suppose you are a preacher — stir up peo- 
ple, arouse their emotions, play upon their feelings 
but never appeal to their reason or good sense I'll 
acknowledge that it's all a well mixed up business to 
me. 

The other did not answer, but he took out his 
guitar, and sang some gospel hymns. He had a good 
voice, and soon the cabin was well filled with listeners. 
Whether he preached to them afterwards, Harald did 
not learn, for he soon thereafter went on deck. 

A black, winter fog hung over the city of Chris- 
tiania and Harald could not content himself there. He 
took a few walks up and clown Karl Johan Street 
where he jostled with the crowd, made a number of 
visits to the Storting, the Norwegian Congress, and he 
was ready to depart. The thought now came to him 
that perhaps it had not been wise to leave Akerby as 
soon and as hurriedly as he had done. People might 
get a wrong impression. He would better return as 
soon as he could. After all. it was only a bit of sea 
travel he wanted ; so back he went. 

He remained restless, sometimes fearful that he 
would become altogether an unbeliever in God, at 



SEEKING AFTER THE TRUTH. 141 

which thought he shuddered. Grandmother's training 
had strong claims on him; yet, he acknowledged to 
himself that he was literally at sea on religious matters. 
His mind was in a turmoil. He had certain yearnings, 
but how chaotic they were ! His thoughts were con- 
fused, his plans for the future, indistinct. He could 
build no cas'tle that would stand over night. All was 
transitory, unreal, unsatisfying. His soul had appe- 
tite ; yet it could not be filled. 

On the return trip, he occupied himself with his 
books. He read Ibsen again, feeling more keenly than 
ever this writer's cynicism, irony, and resentment 
against the social orders of the day. Ibsen's vindictive 
thrusts found an echo in Harald's heart. 

But, after all, there was very little satisfaction in 
Ibsen and he turned to Bjornson. The contrast was 
plainer than ever. Ibsen was the pessimist; Bjornson, 
the optimist. Ibsen's sentiments were contractive, bit- 
ter, and chill ; Bjornson's were expansive, genial, sun- 
ny, full of hope. Ibsen thrust unsolvable problems on 
the world — and Harald had enough of them; Bjorn- 
son never discussed a question to which he did not see 
a solution. Bjornson was the child of nature, free, un- 
restraining. His writings were "colored with nature's 
brush, and steeped in the fragrance of Norwegian 
winds. Their grandeur, their eloquence were but the 
reflection of the Jotunheim, and the quieter, idyllic 
touches, the whisperings of^ the great deep, serene 
fjords." To Harald, Bjornson was a mighty giant, 
lifting his country up to greatness. He was the great 
patriot, the inspirer of every true Norwegian. 



142 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

Yes, we love this land of ours, 
Crowned with mountain domes; 

Storm-scarred o'er the sea it towers, 
With its thousand homes! 

wrote Bjornson. 

As Harald read, he perceived a glimmer of light 
in his gloom. He would serve his country. The plans 
which he contrived when a boy returned to him. Two 
years more and he would be eligible to the Storting. 
Meanwhile, he would work and prove worthy of the 
confidence which his fellow citizens had already im- 
posed in him. Yes ; within two years he must be a 
member of the Storting. Q^e would serve his country, 
until he could more intelligently serve his GodV 



POLITICAL CASTLES. 143 



IV. 



POLITICAL CASTLES. 



Harald Einersen did not get back to Akerby too 
soon. Pastor Bange. had intrusted to a friend some 
strange news about the actions of the late Head Master. 
Pastor Skabo had also told an acquaintance that Mr. 
Einersen had called on him, and had asked some odd 
questions ; and then Pastor Jensen had recounted the 
school teacher's peculiar actions on the street. By put- 
ting it all together, with a little embellishment, the con- 
clusion was easily reached that the Head Master had 
lost his wits with his position. But a week later, when 
the gossip was at its height, Harald Einersen reap- 
peared at Akerby, associating as usual with neighbors 
and friends. 

Mrs. Jacobsen said the journey had resulted in 
much good to him. The good lady was greatly pleased 
that he was himself again. All of Harald's friends 
were glad to see him. His sudden disappearance had 
been the special topic of discussion at the latest meet- 
ing of the West Akerby club ; but when, at the follow- 
ing meeting, Harald had walked into the club rooms 
with head erect and bold step, there was something of 
a sensation. Again, during the discussions that even- 
ing, he had surprised the gathering by a splendid 
mspeech on the political issues of the day. 



144 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Why," said a friend to him, "people had it that 
the trouble had turned your mind, and that you had run 
away from us." 

Harald took the accusations pleasantly, saying, 
"Well, if my mind has been turned, it has been in the 
right direction. I am glad to have the time now to de- 
vote to the cause of our club." 

During the few remaining winter days he read 
law and "talked politics" with his friends. In his own 
mind, he had decided not to try a merchantile pur- 
suit, but to devote a year or more to study and politi- 
cal work. The Storting must be reached, first ; from 
that foothold he could climb higher. His prestige as a 
member of the national legislature would greatly aid 
him and give him influence among the people. His 
motives were high. "If ever my country needed pa- 
triots, it is now," said he to himself. It needed men 
who were not afraid to speak the truth, who were not 
afraid of kingly might or name. Bjornson needed 
aids; what could one man do? The time was ripe 
for action. 

One day in the early spring, Harald met Merchant 
Bernhard, on the street in Akerby. Harald had not 
seen him for years, yet he knew him at sight, although 
the merchant had aged much, and his cane did not 
touch the ground as lightly as when he had met him 
last. The merchant did not recognize the tall, bearded 
man as his former tender of sheep, and it was some 
time before Harald could be properly placed in the 
old man's mind. Then it came to him suddenly, and 
he exclaimed : 



POLITICAL CASTLES. 145 

"Yes, yes ; now I remember. You are Einer 
Gundersen's son — and what are you doing here?" 

Harald led him into a cafe, and ordered coffee, the 
merchant continually remonstrating in true Norwegian 
style ; but when they had been comfortably seated in a 
retired corner of the room, the old gentleman seemed 
well pleased. He drew off his gloves, dropping them 
into his hat. Then, pushing back his bushy, gray hair, 
he looked closely at his young friend. 

"And so you are young Einersen ? Yes ; I have 
heard of you. My daughter talked of the delightful 
times she had in Nordland, for years after her visit. 
In fact, London, New York, Paris, were nothing to the 
wonders of Nordland. Yes ; Nordland is all right — 
in the summer," he lowered his voice on the last 
phrase, "but hoot-toot-too ! in the winter!" 

"And Miss Bernhard," asked Harald, disregard- 
ing the drift of the old gentleman's conversation, "is 
she well?" 

A cloud passed over the merchant's face, and a 
firm, though sad expression came into it. 

"Yes ; she is well." 

The tone in which he said it seemed to forbid the 
young man asking any further questions along that 
line. 

"Yes; thank you, I'll take another cup," said the 
merchant, and then he continued : 

"Your grandmother kept me pretty well posted on 
your affairs, but since her death I have not heard 
much. What are you doing now?" 



146 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"I have been teaching school for four years, but 

1 am reading law." 

" Ah ! Going to be a lawyer next, are you ? What 
under the sun will you not aspire to? You'll wish to 
be elected to the Storting next, I dare say; and from 
there to the Prime Minister would be an easy step for 
you. w 

llarald smiled at the old man's pleasantry. 

"Well, it's all right, I suppose," he continued. "We 
are living in a wonderful age, anyway. I sometimes 
think there is a chance for the return of Norway to 
her true position among the nations of the world, when 
I see such young men as you, and the spirit which is 
working in you." 

Harald thanked him earnestly, and assured him 
that his own life work would be to help bring about 
the happy result. 

"Well, you young fellows are good for it. I wish 
you success. If I were but a trifle younger now — 
but no, I'm about through with life." 

The old merchant bowed his head as if some great 
sorrow bent it. He finished his coffee in silence, and 
then arose to go. He had stopped off at Akerby on 
a matter of business, and would be compelled to leave 
on the evening boat, hence, could not accept Harald's 
pressing invitation to remain with him over night, 
llarald learned nothing more about Thora, only that 
was then in Christiania. The father's lips appeared 
to he sealed against any word about his daughter, and 
Harald could not understand it. It worried him not 
a little. 



POLITICAL CASTLES. 147 

It may be that some future Norwegian historian 
may reveal the details of the deep-laid plan to over- 
throw the kingdom of Oscar II, and to erect a repub- 
lic on the Scandinavian peninsula ; but at the present 
writing, very little is known to the public of the 
schemes and doings of the little band of country-loving 
men who worked and planned, and kept their secret 
plots so well to themselves. Harald Einersen might, 
if he would, tell it all ; but it is verv doubtful if more 
than is simply hinted at in this narrative will ever be 
given to the world, at least by the one man who was 
the chief worker, the life and spirit of the movement, 
and whose withdrawal from it marked the beginning 
of its downfall. 

There can be no doubt that at some future day, 
the Norwegians will form a republic, patterned after 
the great republic of America. That will come when 
the time is fully ripe for it. Then, perhaps, the seed 
sown by Harald Einersen and his associates will bring 
returns. What he and his friends accomplished, in 
and around the city of Akerby, no man can yet say. 
Time alone will tell ; but to this day certain intimate 
friends of Harald Einersen sadly bewail their loss, 
and have only anathemas for the fate that broke into 
their ranks and took their leading spirit away. 



148 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



V. 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 

Harald Einersen traveled much in the interest of 
the West Akerby Club and its extending branches. One 
day, in the latter part of May, while in the small fish- 
ing village of Aanes, a few miles up the coast from 
Akerby, he was spending the evening at the house of 
a friend ; and, as the principal men of the village had 
been invited in, there was a room-full of company. A 
good-natured crowd it was, too, though the parish 
priest and the schoolmaster were both there to bring 
the gravity of their positions to bear on the general 
conduct. 

Politics had been discussed in a general way ; the 
business outlook had been reviewed ; some gossip had 
been indulged in ; and now the conversation was lagging. 
Out of respect to Mr. Einersen's well known temper- 
ance principles, the punch bowl was absent, and coffee 
and chocolate were served. Pastor Brun had not yet 
contributed his share to the intellectual feast which was 
supposed to be taking place, so he was called upon to 
say something. 

"Well, I was just thinking," he began, as he slowly 
sipped the hot chocolate and munched the wheaten 
cakes — "I was just thinking of the preponderance of 
evidence in favor of the early Christians." 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 149 

There was a pause. No one seemed to understand 
such a profound remark. 

The pastor chuckled. "I'll have to explain myself, 
I see," he continued. "I was thinking that we latter- 
day Christians are greatly favored ; but think of living 
in the time of the beloved Lord and Master, of having 
the blessed privilege of beholding His face and hearing 
His voice. Ah, what one could afford to suffer for 
that blessing! What do you think, Mr. Schoolmas- 
ter?" 

As the teacher was thus appealed to, he had to 
continue the conversation along the same lines, which, 
in truth, he was not loath to do, for the schoolmaster 
was one who had "gotten religion" and was "saved." 

"Yes, dear pastor, I have often thought the same. 
What if we could have helped an apostle or succored a 
persecuted saint. There was Paul, at Jerusalem, or at 
Csesarea, for instance." 

But the ship captain did not like such talk, and he 
managed to turn the conversation into another direc- 
tion. Then, when the host was in the middle of a 
story, the door bell rang. He stopped, called for the 
girl, and sent her to the door, telling her to show the 
gentleman right in — it was no doubt friend Anders who 
had said he could not come until late, ffj ^ ere was some, 
talk at the door, and then the girl came back, saying 
that it was a stranger who desired lodging for the 
night. 

"Tell him this is not a lodging house," said the 
host, quite loudly. 

"Friend, I am surprised," said the priest. "Where 



IoO THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

shall the man go to find such a place in Aanesr Re- 
consider." 

"lell the man to come in, then." 

A young man, carrying a grip and an umbrella, 
entered the room, hat in hand. 

"Good evening, all," he said, as he looked around 
the room. 

"Good evening, sir," said the host, advancing to- 
wards him. "What can I do for you?" 

The stranger placed his grip on the floor, and his 
hat on a chair. He looked tired and travel-stained. 
His shoes and clothing were not free from the wet soil 
of the country road. 

"I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he 
said. His words came slowly, and with a foreign ac- 
cent. "I have been traveling through this part of the 
land preaching, and arrived at Aanes this evening. I 
am looking for a place to stop over night. I have asked 
at quite a number of places, this evening, but, so far, 
I have been refused, though I have money to pay for my 
lodging." 

The company remained quiet. There was some- 
thing strange about the proceedings. Pastor Brun ad- 
vanced. 

"You are a minister of the gospel, you say, and yet 
can get no entertainment. That is strange ! What so- 
ciety are you representing, my friend?" 

"I am representing the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints, commonly known by the name of 
Mormon." 

The stillness in the room was broken by hurried 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 151 

whispers, and subdued acclamations of "A Mormon ! a 
Mormon !" The stranger stood erect and still. He did 
not attempt to sit down, and he was not invite(T~to^ 

"Now I understand," exclaimed the pastor, "why 
people will not let you into their houses. So we are to 
be plagued with that basest of all delusions, are we? 
Not if I can help it, my friend. Take my advice, get 
out of the country^ Go home to Utah, from where. I 
suppose, you came. We do not want any of your Mor- 
monism. We do not want any of your imposition^." 
Turning to the host, the pastor continued, "I would ad- 
vise you to follow the good example of your neighbors, 
by refusing to entertain this man ; for harboring him 
will bring down on your head the displeasure of God." 

"Yes ; I don't see how we can keep, you, sir. There 
is another house some distance further on and — " 

But the "Mormon" had taken up his hat and grip, 
and was moving towards the door. As he passed the 
door-way into the hall, he looked Harald Einersen, who 
was standing near by, straight in the face. Something 
in his eyes pierced Harald to the soul. What it was, 
Harald could not tell, but the whole man reminded him 
of one whom he had loved, and had buried up in Nord- 
land. 

When the man was out of sight, the company 
heaved a united sigh of relief. It had surely been a 
narrow escape. The schoolmaster soon found his 
tongue, however, and began telling some wonderfully 
strange and horrible stories about the "Mormons," their 
beliefs and practices, to which the company listened 
with eager ears. 



152 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

Ten minutes later, Harald went into the hall, took 
his hat from the hook, and stepped out at the front 
door. There were no gas lamps in the one street of 
Aanes, and the night was dark. The sky was filling 
with clouds ; the wind howled dismally around the ga- 
bles of the house. He hurried up the street as that 
would very likely be the direction the stranger had 
taken, though it was an hour's walk to the next house. 
He hurried on ; the hill was on one side ; the still forest 
on the other. Every moment or two, he paused to lis- 
ten ; but he heard nothing save the wind in the trees. 
The clouds came from the sea, thick and black, and 
now a few drops of rain fell. 

Harald stopped. What a fool he was, chasing this 
stranger ! What was he to him ? He was but a preach- 
er, any way, no doubt like all other preachers. Let him 
go his way. 

A flash of lightning tore across the sky ; and, in 
an instant, another lighted up the road in front of him. 
A few rods ahead, a high, stone wall extended down 
the hill to the road. By the side of this wall, Harald 
saw the man, sitting. His hat was off, and his grip was 
on the ground. Then came the crash of thunder. Har- 
ald advanced slowly. Another flash came, and by its 
light he saw the man kneeling on the grass by the wall. 
He was praying. 

Harald stopped again, but could hear nothing save 
the noise made by the approaching storm ; however, 
there the man was — he saw him again — there he was, 
out in the night alone, an outcast, praying to God. He 
stepped out of the road, and stood leaning against a 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 153 

tree, deciding that he would not go farther to intrude 
upon the man. In a few minutes, he heard the stranger's 
footsteps coming down into the road again, and then, 
Harald shouted to him. They met in the road. 

"You are the Mormon, are you?" inquired Harald. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then come back with me. I will find a place for 
you." 

"Thank you, sir, for your kindness." 

They could not converse much for the storm came 
on. The stranger raised his umbrella, and Harald took 
shelter under it, walking in step with his companion. 
Harald took him to his own lodgings, and asked the 
lady of the house to make him comfortable for the night. 
If she had no spare room, she should make a bed in his 
own room, and give him some supper. 

"Good night, sir," said Harald, "I shall see you 
again in the morning." 

"Good night, and God bless you," heard Harald, as 
ne hurried back to his company. 

They met next morning at the breakfast table. 
Harald led the conversation to political conditions in 
America. Religion was not mentioned, and the "Mor- 
mon" had no inclination to broach the subject. 

"I am to remain here until this afternoon," said 
Harald to his guest, after breakfast. "If you could 
spare the time, I should like to speak further with 
you." 

"To talk to people is my whole business," replied 
the young preacher," and I am only pleased to speak 
when I can get a hearing. 

u 



154 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Come into my room, then — no, I'll settle for the 
entertainment." He led the way into his room. "I'll 
have to ask for your name. It will hardly do to call you 
Mr. Mormon. Some one might hear it and be shocked." 

"My name is Olsen." 

"That's common enough not to frighten anybody.' 

"True ; not long ago I was looking over the direc- 
tory in Christiania, and there are only about five thou- 
sand of us in that city, alone." 

"Not all Mormons, though!" 

-Well— no." 

"You'll excuse my light-mindedness, I'm sure ; but 
you remind me so much of an old friend of mine whom 
I held very dear, but who is now dead. My name is 
Einersen ; not quite as common as yours, but still the 
same sen. There are a lot of us. Were you born here?" 

"No; I was born in America. You may, perhaps, 
hear that by my poor language ; although my parents 
are Norwegians, I have spoken English all my life, un- 
til a year ago. My Norwegian is practically only one 
year old." 

"You speak it exceedingly well, then — but hear — 
now answer me — what must I do to be saved ?" 

They drew their chairs up to the table. The "Mor- 
mon" took from his grip a Bible and opened it, Harald 
watching him closely. The preacher did not at once 
say, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt 
be saved." In fact, this preacher did not look like a 
preacher, at all. He did not have the clerical air, as 
Harald defined it. 

"Have you a Bible?" asked the missionary. 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 155 

"Not with me — but look here, I see you are going 
to prove your points from the Bible. You are going to 
tell me how to be saved by reading from the Bible, ex- 
actly as all other preachers do. Is it not possible to be 
saved without that book? I can think of a time when 
the Bible was not in existence. How were men saved 
then?" 

Mr. Olsen closed the book on the table in front of 
him, and pushed it aside. 

"Yes," he said, "I can tell you of the plan of sal- 
vation without the Bible, because this plan existed be- 
fore that book was written. The gospel plan exists 
independently of any book. If it were not so, our sal- 
vation would depend upon the dead forms of a printed 
page ; but, of course, I thought I would have to prove 
every statement I may make from these scriptures ; and, 
in fact, they are very useful in establishing the truth of 
what we teach." 

"Don't misunderstand me," said the other, "I be- 
lieve in the Bible." 

"And you believe in Christ?" 

"Certainly." 

"Very well, then, that is the central idea, the 
foundation. Upon it, I think, we can build our struc- 
ture." 

Harald enjoyed the ring of the last sentence. Here, 
at last, might be some tangible thing to do. 

"Christ, then, is the starting point, for Him were 
all things created. * * 'All things were created by Him 
and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him 
all things exist' — you will excuse me, if I sometimes 



156 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

use the words of the scriptures to express the thought. 
In Him all fulness dwells. He has 'made peace through 
the blood of the cross,' and has reconciled 'all things 
unto Himself. That is the reason that Christ is back of 
it all. Now, sin and evil are in the world, and it is a 
continual struggle on our part to keep from getting un- 
der its dominion. Why sin is in the world, we can not 
now discuss, at length — enough that it is, and is in di- 
rect conflict with righteousness, the same as darkness 
is in opposition to light, bitter to sweet, sorrow to joy. 
Our contentions, then, are with sin ; we have nothing 
else in this world to worry over or to combat. Sin ap- 
pears in manifold forms, and comes in countless ways. 
Sin is the real enemy — the enemy of our souls ; work- 
ing out our salvation consists in fighting this enemy. 
To be saved is to overcome sin, in all its ramifications, 
and to place it under our feet, triumphantly, gloriously. 
Within and of ourselves, this is impossible ; our mortal- 
ity is too weak. We need divine aid, and we have it in 
the Lord Jesus Christ. He came from the realms of 
perfection, with more than mortal power within him- 
self. He came to our rescue, glory be to His name for 
it. He came willingly, gladly, because of His great love 
for us. Sin came into the world through the trans- 
gression of the first man ; 'The wages of sin is death.' 
Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world. He 
paid the penalty imposed by the Eternal Adjudicator of 
Justice. He died on the cross, that He might draw all 
men to Him. He broke the bands of death and opened 
the grave for all men, therefore are we saved from the 
effects of Adam's transgression. 'As in Adam all die, 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 157 

even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' Christ, then, 
'bought us with a price,' for we are not our own; we 
are the Master's. We are free from any original sin, 
for the blood of Christ washed it unconditionally from 
the soul of every living creature. But while we are in 
the world, we are liable to commit sin. We have our 
agency, and we may choose. The good is on one side, 
the evil is on the other. The right of choice is funda- 
mental. We often chose the evil, and sin. Did Christ 
pay for these personal sins also ? Yes ; but the effects 
of His atonement for these personal sins come to us 
only upon conditions. Here is where we come in. Here 
is where we must act. Herein, again, is shown the 
eternal law of compensation." 

At this point in the talk there came a knock at the 
door. The houeswife wished to tidy up the room, but 
Harald asked her to defer it until later. When she had 
withdrawn, he turned again to his companion and said, 
"Go on, please." 

"As I said, Christ has bought us, and we are His. 
He, then, certainly has the right to say what we must 
do to get the full benefit of His atonement. This He 
has done, and we have a record of it here in the scrip- 
tures. These requirements we call the gospel plan of 
salvation. The first principles and ordinances of this 
plan are — first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, 
repentance ; third, baptism by immersion for the re- 
mission of sins ; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift 
of the Holy Ghost. Now, you will excuse me, if I use 
the Bible," he said as he again opened the book ; "I wish 
to support my argument with apostolic evidence. I 



158 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

think these examples will also make my points clearer. 
"You remember at the time Christ ascended into 
heaven, He told His apostles to tarry at Jerusalem that 
they might be endowed with power from on high. It 
seems that a divine authority was necessary to carry on 
the work of preaching the gospel and initiating those 
who believed into the fold of Christ. You will remem- 
ber also that when this power came to the apostles, on 
that memorable day of Pentecost, they spoke with other 
tongues ; and Peter, the chief of the apostles, arose and 
addressed the large assembly present. He told them of 
Christ, proving from the scriptures that He was the one 
spoken of by the prophets of old, even He whom they 
had taken and put to death. Peter told them of His 
resurrection and of His ascension to heaven. 'And now 
when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, 
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men 
and brethren, what shall we do?' They asked the same 
question, Mr. Einersen, that you asked me, a few min- 
utes ago, the same question that has been asked by 
thousands of honest souls. Hear Peter's reply: 'Re- 
pent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of 
Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall re- 
ceive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' There it is, plain and 
simple. Not a word did Peter say about faith. Why? 
They already had faith, or they never would have cried, 
'What shall we do?' Peter, seeing this, told them what 
should naturally follow, namely, repentance ; and then 
came baptism in water for the remission of their sins ; 
and then the promise was that they should receive the 
gift of the Holy Ghost. We are not told in that passage 



AN INTRUDER AND HIS DOCTRINE. 159 

how baptism was performed, neither how the Holy 
Ghost was imparted, but we have numerous other in- 
stances which prove conclusively that baptism was per- 
formed by a burial in the water, to typify a new birth, 
and that it was given only to those who were old 
enough to sin, to have faith, and to repent of those 
sins. The Holy Ghost was given by the laying on of 
the hands of the apostles, as witnessed in the case of the 
baptized Samarians receiving this ordinance under the 
hands of Peter and John." 

The young man paused. The two looked at ea~h 
other earnestly, while Harald sat as one in a spell. It 
was all so new and strange, yet it seemed as if he had 
known it, at some time in the distant past. 

''Have you no questions to ask?" 

Harald aroused himself. Yes ; he had a gnod 
many, and he proceeded to ask them. The "Mormon ' 
turned the leaves of the Bible, and answered most of 
them by reading and commenting on scripture passages. 

/fh is plan of salvation, as you call it," said Har- 
ald, "is based on Christ and His teaching. Is this the 
only plan, and must it apply to all who have lived and 
will live on the earth ?" 

"There is but one name, one plan under heaven 
given to man for his salvation." 

"Then, what becomes of those who have died with- 
out a knowledge of this name or plan? Is there no 
hope for them ?" 

"Christ is 'Lord both of the dead and living.' He 
died for the sins of all men, past, present, or future. 
The redemption could mean nothing less. An infinite 



160 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

plan could not be so unjust, so imperfect as to fail in 
saving nine-tenths of the human race. 

"But, but, you said — " 

"Wait ; I understand you ! God's arm is not short- 
ened. Christ said to His apostles : 'Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the 
dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they 
that hear shall live ;' and the Apostle Peter plainly tells 
us that Christ, when put to death, went and preached 
to the spirits in prison. Without quoting so much of 
the Bible, the fact of the matter is, my friend, that the 
Gospel of Christ will be preached to every son and 
daughter of Adam, either in this life or the life to come, 
and they will be given an opportunity to either receive 
it, or reject it, before they are judged in the matter. 
That is fair, isn't it? That is in accordance with the 
justice of God, is it not?" 

'Does 'Mormonism' teach that?" asked Harald. 

"The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that," replied 
the missionary; "some people call it 'Mormonism/ but 
I like to call a thing by its proper name." 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 161 



VI. 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 



This first conversation was only the beginning of 
many. Harald Einersen seemed to forget all else ex- 
cept the young "Mormon" elder and his doctrines. He 
took him to Akerby, and gave him lodgings at Mrs. 
Jacobsen's, that they might be together. For a feu- 
days, at least, the interests of the West Akerby Club 
were neglected. The fir>t thing in the morning, they 
talked. They went out over the hills back of the town, 
discussing as they walked. They rowed in the harbor, 
conversing as they rowed. The days were now warm 
and long, but the two men sat up half the night talking. 
Harald's weather-stained Bible had never been in use 
so much before. It was not his nature to go into any- 
thing half-heartedly; so he probed and argued and 
questioned. What appealed to him most forcibly was 
the new light that was thrown on old themes. Why 
couldn't he have thought of these things? they were 
simple enough. Then, again, the "Mormon" did not 
try to escape from reason ; rather, he tested all his doc- 
trine by it, as well as by the scriptures. The question 
of salvation for the dead was met in a clear, sensible 
manner. Were the Vikings of old to be punished for 
the non-observance of a law not given to them ? Justice 



162 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

answered, no. Were the Grecian, the Roman, the Chin- 
ese philosophers doomed to an everlasting nell ? Justice 
and reason, yea, the gospel of Jesus Christ, answered, 
no. The explanations given by the "Mormon" to these 
questions which had vexed him so were indeed satisfy- 
ing. 

"Last evening you were speaking of a universal 
apostasy," said Harald. "That is hardly clear to me, 
besides, if we admit of such a thing, the consequences 
are so far-reaching and disastrous that I shudder at the 
thought." The two were seated on a hill-top, over- 
looking Akerby. 

"Well," answered the elder, "facts are facts, even 
if they are unpleasant. The fact that the whole of the 
so-called Christian world today is divided and sub-di- 
vided, each sect striving against the other, is conclusive 
proof that the pure principles of Christianity are scarce 
in the earth. Christ gave a key by which all men may 
test the Christianity of the world. He said, 'By this 
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have 
love one to another.' Apply that test to the nations. 
Are the Danes_Christians, followers of Christ? Are the 
Germans Christians, disciples of Christ? If so, they 
love each other; yes, even with that love with which 
Christ loved them. But these two nations, adherents 
even to the same division of Christianity, go to war and 
slay each other. Do the English love the French ? Do 
the French love the English? Both are Christian na- 
tions. Over in our country, the great America, we re- 
cently had a war. Methodists marched against Meth- 
odists, and slew each other by the thousands. Baptists 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 163 

marshaled in arms against their fellow Baptists, and 
bathed their swords in each other's blood ; yet, they 
were all Christians, disciples of the same Christ, who 
had said that if they were His they would be one, they 
would love one another, even to the laying down of 
their lives. Imagine for a moment members of the 
Church of Christ taking up arms one against another ! 
Christ is not divided. Every kingdom divided against 
itself shall not stand."' 

Harald thought of the secret plots which even then 
were being talked about in the meetings of the West 
Akerby Club, but he said nothing. 

"These truths are enough for me ; still we have 
much historical evidence to prove the apostasy. The 
scriptures tell of a time of great wickedness, when men 
would be ever learning and never able to come to a 
knowledge of the truth. Then the history of the great 
Roman church and the Reformation, proves much. 
Luther said the Roman church had become corrupt. 
The pope said Luther and all his followers were apos- 
tates, and cut them from the church. Luther never 
claimed any renewal of divine authority from the foun- 
tain head in heaven. The fact of the matter is that 
Luther did not reform the church as regards doctrine, 
because he taught some doctrines just as erroneous as 
those taught and practiced by the Catholic church. 
What Luther did, was to break the chains of despotism 
which the popes had bound around the people, and for 
this he should have the honor due him. Now, coming 
nearer home, how was Christianity introduced into 
Norway? You have read history, how Olaf Trygge- 



164 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

son Christianized his kingdom by killing, maiming, or 
driving from the country all who would not be bap- 
tized. Do you think for a moment that what Olaf 
brought to Norway was the pure doctrine of the Mas- 
ter? No; of course not. Then again, what about the 
Reformation? That was little better than the first in- 
troduction. The Catholic bishops were forcibly ejected, 
and their property seized. The spirit shown by the 
Lutheran reformers was scarcely Christ-like." 

"Well, I have thought as much, myself," said 
Harald. 

"Then, again, another phase of this pretended au- 
thority to minister in sacred things will strike you as 
inconsistent. Who is the head of the church in Nor- 
way?" 

"The king." 

"And how did the king obtain a power which is 
divine?" 

"Well, I suppose the constitution gives him that 
power." 

"And who made the constitution?" 

"Representatives of the Norwegian people." 

"Yes ; there we have it. The people, many of 
whom are not even believers in God, give Godly au- 
thority ! No ; the stream is made to flow up hill. Then, 
again, see how kings become converted. When the pres- 
ent king's grandfather, Marshal Bernadotte, was 
chosen crown prince to the Swedish throne, he should 
embrace the Lutheran religion. This, you will remem- 
ber, he readily did, for when he landed at Elsinor, he 
made solemn professions of the protestant faith before 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 165 

the archbishop of Upsala and the bishop of Lund. This 
conversion may have been sincere. I don't know ; but 
it doesn't sound like the conversions we read about in 
the day of the first apostles." 

"Well, but all this leaves us without a roof over 
our heads." 

"My friend," said Elder Olsen, "we never demol- 
ish a man's house until we have a better one to give 
him. Listen to this reading: 'And I saw another an- 
gel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting 
gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, 
and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and peo- 
ple, saying with a loud voice. Fear God, and give glory 
to him ; for the hour of his judgment is come : and wor- 
ship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and 
the fountains of waters.' I bear testimony to you that 
the angel here spoken of has come, and has delivered 
that same pure, everlasting gospel again to the earth, 
with divine authority to preach it, and to administer 
its saving ordinances to all mankind." 

"You mean the angel visits, and the revelations 
given to Joseph Smith?" 

"Yes,' 

"It can't be true." 

Harald said this more to himself than as a con- 
tradiction. He sat and looked over the harbor, and 
then out beyond to the sea. What was all this coming 
to, anyway? what did it all purport? He must get 
away from this "Mormon." Here was another and a 
terrible disturber of the peace of life. 



166 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"I know what prejudice you must naturally have 
against such a belief," continued the elder. "All your 
religious teachers hold that God has had His say, and 
has ceased to speak. In fact, they have sealed the 
mouth of God. If He has a message to give to man, 
be it ever so important, it could not be received. I pre- 
fer believing that God can and will reveal His will to 
His children, just as well now as formerly.'" 

"Well, now I must go," said Harald, somewhat im- 
patiently. They went down the hill, silently, Harald 
avoiding the town. When they arrived at their lodg- 
ings, Harald explained that he must visit some towns 
around the coast. They would doubtless meet again, 
some day, but now he had no more time to talk. 

"There, thank goodness, I am rid of him," said 
Harald, quite aloud, after the elder's departure. Peo- 
ple were beginning to talk again, and the business of 
the club .was being neglected. Why did he thus bother 
with religion when his country needed his whole atten- 
tion ? He would put the whole "Mormon" question out 
pf mind. 

Easier said than done. Harald did not leave Ak- 
erby that day, nor the next. For two nights, he lay 
awake, listening to the tick of his tall clock on the wall, 
until past midnight. Questions crowded themselves in 
and out of his bewildered mind. He could not get rid 
of that which he had heard ; but, rather, that which he 
had received called for more. On the third day, he 
hunted up Mr. Olsen. He had left the town, but he 
traced him to a nearby village, and then followed after 
him. ;\ 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 167 

"I must talk more with you,'' Harald explained. 
"Why did you go? ' 

The elder looked him in the face and smiled ; Har- 
ald understood. The man seemed to know his thoughts. 

"Forgive me," said Harald, 'T sent you away — 
but, tell me, is all this true?" He said it as a child, 
groping for light. The young elder took him by the 
arm, his heart going out to him. How could Harald 
know of the secret prayers that this man had breathed 
for him? 

" 'My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. 
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doc- 
trine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of my- 
self?' That is all I can say. I have borne my testi- 
mony to you ; I have preached to you the gospel of 
Jesus Christ ; I can do no more. I can not convince 
any man of its truth ; that power belongs to God only." 

"But this word 'Mormon,' and this man Joseph 
Smith. They make me nearly to shudder. What you 
have said about the doctrine is beautiful, but — " 

"My friend, a bitter fountain does not bring forth 
sweet water. You must remember, to be evil-spoken 
of is an heritage of the saints. This thing is not un- 
doing. As I explained to you, I get no money or world- 
ly honor for this work; but God has put it upon us who 
e received of this gracious light to impart it to our 
neighbor. I come 'not to do mine own will.' I would 
have a much easier task and a more pleasant time at 

at . - )aby." 

Harald took the "Mormon" once more back to 
Akerby. Once more they roamed the hills and sailed 



•168 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

on the water, talking, talking. Harald could never be- 
come quite satisfied. He read the tracts and books 
which the elder gave him, but they did not satisfy him 
like the word of mouth. Then, there was something 
about the young missionary that drew Harald to him, 
something so simple, humble, yet natural — something so 
different from other preachers he had known. 

Harald lived those days as in a dream. The weath- 
er was unusually fair, so the two men spent much of 
the time out of doors. The arousing of the world from 
its long, cold sleep in the dark was but a type of his 
own awakening ; and the beauties that daily sprang into 
view in the physical world, had their counterpart in the 
loveliness which unfolded to his eager soul. 

With all his studying, Harald Einersen had never 
really delved into the great basic study of life, which 
might be divided into three great headings : first, where 
did I come from? second, what is the object of this 
life? third, where do I go when I leave this world? 
Perhaps the reason for his ignorance of this science of 
all sciences was the scarcity of text books, and the ab- 
sence of teachers ; but now, this young teacher had come 
to him with a broken speech and a simple way, and had 
taught him some of the first principles of this great 
science. 

The "Mormon" missionary remained in and 
around Akerby for some weeks. Harald gave him 
the names and address of a number of his friends, 
and asked the elder to call upon them. This was glad- 
ly done ; but the reports which he brought to Har- 
ald were discouraging. None of them could see any 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 169 

good in "Mormonism," as they persisted in calling his 
doctrine. Some were very indifferent, and others 
again insulted him openly. Harald was grieved at 
this, but the elder simply smiled as he told how one 
of Harald's best friends had opened the door and told 
him to get out in a hurry, if he did not wish to be 
helped. 

"Did he actually do that?" enquired Harald. "How 
did you feel?" 

"Oh, I simply walked out, not thinking much 
about it. Such things discouraged me terribly at first 
— came in conflict with my Americanism, you know — 
but now, I have become accustomed to it, and do not 
mind it much." 

"It must be hard — but I am surprised at him." 
Elder Olsen left Akerby to attend some kind of 
conference at Bergen, and Harald went back to the 
duties of the West Akerby club. Some of his friends 
acted strangely towards him, he thought, but he paid 
no attention to it. Of course, his intimate association 
with the "Mormon" had become somewhat known, and 
had created some talk ; but he tried not to care. Though 
he tried he did care. His friends were dear to him ; 
their society was all he had in the social world. But 
above all. his political ambitions depended wholly on 
the good will of his friends. If he lost that, he him- 
self was lost, and with him, his nicely laid plans. 

/gut then, if all this which the "Mormon" had told 
him be true, what then of friends and well laid plans? 
Perhaps God had sent this man to him as an answer 
to his yearnings for light. If God had sent him, how 

12 



170 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

could he resist? If "Mormonism" was the truth, how 
could he consistently withstand it ! Truth is all pow- 
erful and can not be overcome. No one can success- 
fully fight against truth. 

But oh. it must not be true, it can not be true ! He 
must reject it. His plans were too well matured to be 
overturned now. His country needed his aid. He 
could not desert his friends, who placed the utmost 
confidence in him. They had promised to elect him 
to the Storting, and from that body, he could make 
his influence felt. 

Then Harald tried to convince himself that he 
could go on with his plans, do it all, and still accept 
this new truth, if it proved to be such ; but he could 
not deceive himself. He knew that if it came to an 
issue, his surroundings would compel him to choose 
— and that thought, as it came forcibly to him, made 
him sweat at every pore. The supreme struggle was 
at hand. He felt it coming, and tried to ward it off, 
but on it came, relentlessly on. His efforts were the 
pun}- exertions of a child. He tried to set his heart 
against this disturber of his peace, but his heart re- 
belled. He tried to close his eyes against the new 
outlook ; but, time and again, his soul hungered for a 
sight of the new regions of beauty. The new force 
was already shaking to its foundation his latest and 
grandest castle. 

Then arose another champion against the still, 
Mnall voice, deep within his bosom — a voice which had 
to contend with so many foes already. This warrior 
was bold and strong, and might turn the tide of bat- 



THE STRUGGLE TO DECIDE. 171 

tie. Harald thought he could hear his voice saying: 
"You fool, to thus throw your life away! Here you 
have patiently worked your way up from poverty and 
ignorance to a high level ; and through it all, Thora 
Bernhard has been true to you. She has had faith in 
you, that you would overcome the differences between 
you, that you would place yourself on her level. She 
has been your star of hope through all your struggles 
— and the north star is still in the heavens. And now, 
when you have attained to this, you would deliberately 
lower yourself again ; or, it not that, fix a gulf between 
yourself and her that it will be impossible to span ! 
Now, which will you choose? Contempt, degradation 
in the eyes of your friends, the loss of honor and re- 
spect, living all your life in common poverty : or the 
respect of your countrymen, a seat in the Storting. 
perhaps something higher, and, with it all, the love of 
Thora ? 

And Harald Einersen bowed hismce in his hands 
and groaned, "O God. I don't knqwjj 

He was on a sea ; the night was dark ; the thick 
fog hung low; not a star could be seen; the wind 
blew hither and thither ; no pilot on board ; his ship 
was drifting, he knew not where ; any moment, it might 
strike a hidden rock and go down — father was getting 
old ; he was losing strength, and could not swing his 
ax as formerly ; his brothers were men ; Hulda was a 
beautiful maiden ; there were other children — and Har- 
ald was adrift, knowing not where his harbor would 
be. 

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the 



172 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

zchole world, and lose his ozen soul? or what shall a 
man give in exchange for his soui 

It was the still, small voice that spoke, and Har- 
ald could not answer it. 

"If any of you lack wisdom, let Jiim ask of God, 
that gvueth to all men liberally, and upbraidcth not ; 
and it shall be given him" 

The elder had quoted these words to him many 
times. They had not touched his heart until now. 
The advice had been given with perfect assurance. No 
other preacher had ever told him to prove his doc- 
trine by asking God. Here, then, was a glimmer of 
hope. He would try it — put it to the test. Why had 
he not thought of it before? He had depended on his 
own strength and wisdom ; he now saw that they were 
pitiably lacking. Yes, he would ask God for wisdom, 
and leave the matter in His hands. 



FROM DESPAIR TO PROMISE. 173 



VIL 



THE ROAD FROM THE SUMMIT OF DESPAIR TO THE LAND 

OF PROMISE. 

Harald was out early. Just as the eastern sky 
paled, and then opened its depths of light, he passed 
over the hillside and down to the highway which led 
up the valley back of Akerby. The last lingering 
star could yet be seen, as he crossed the bridge. Us- 
ually he stopped on this bridge to view the leaping 
waters of the river ; but this morning, he went on with- 
out even a glance. When the sun arose he was out 
of sight of the town, though down over the low hills, 
he could see the smoke-filled air of the city. 

He left the main road, and took a pathway which 
led over some rolling hills to the right. The farmers 
were astir. The lowing of the cattle and the bleating 
of the impatient sheep, came to his ears. Wherever 
the hills were not too steep and rocky, the land had 
been cleared of trees, and was growing crops of wheat 
and potatoes. Harald did not trespass by crossing the 
fields. He knew how the farmers disliked anyone 
tramping on their crops, so he always went around 
the stone walls. 

Another half hour's walk, and the cultivated lands 
were passed. Above him stretched the hills with their 



174 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

forests of fir, with here and there clearings and patches 
of birch trees and willows. Above and beyond the 
hills, arose the mountains, in places broken by rocky 
peaks, in other parts, pine-clad to their summits. He 
found a trail leading upward through the forest, and 
followed it; not hurriedly — there was no need of that; 
he had all day for his trip, yes, two days if he wished. 

The bright, beautiful June morning on the moun- 
tains gave him strength. Had the earth been gray 
and cold, and the air chilling, he would have had so 
much more to overcome ; but the life-inspiring morn- 
ing braced him, and put spirit into his soul. He had 
always been a mountain-climber, a lover of the hills, 
and had often gone to them in his troubles. With their 
calm and their solemnity, they had often soothed his 
boyish fears. It was natural, then, that he should now 
go to the hills. On them, if anywhere, he could get 
away from the world, and approach near to God ; and 
if at any time in his life he felt as if the heavens ought 
to be easy of access, it was that morning. 

The sun was well up in the sky when he threw 
himself down to rest on the grass in an opening among 
the trees. He was out of sight and sound of any hu- 
man object, save it were the toy-like houses, away 
down in the valley, from whose chimneys faint clouds 
of smoke arose. His eyes lingered on these buildings 
as if they were the last links that bound him to this 
world, from which he disliked to part. He saw them 
magnified in his vision. Brown, weather-beaten, low- 
roofed they were, with windows of small bottle-green 
glass which sent out dazzling reflections when the ev- 



FROM DESPAIR TO PROMISE. 175 

ening sun was low. The roofs were of sod, at this 
season covered with grass and flowers. What an 
indication of peace was the smoke from the chimne; 
as it curled gracefully up into the still summer air ! Xo 
doubt that farmer was at peace with the world and 
with his God. He could go about his daily toil, and 
return home in the evening to his wife and children, 
with only bodily weariness to make his footsteps slow. 
I low blessed he was! Peace, heaven-kissed peace of 
soul ! Di-d I own the world, and not thee, gladly 
would I barter my possessions for thee ! 

As he lay there on the grass, Harald Einersen 
reviewed again the arguments for and against his 
"accepting the gospel," as the "Mormon" put it. The 
world one one side ; truth on the other. Honors on one 
side ; ignominy with salvation on the other. The love 
of a woman, dearer than life to him, on one side ; 
Christ and the peace of God, on the other. 

"Xo man having put his hand to the plough, and 
looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 

"I will be fit, then, O Lord," said Harald, as he 
took up again his hat and continued on up the hill. 

For another hour he journeyed upward. The sun 
emitted its warmth as it sailed through the clear sky. 
A breeze came down from the mountains, and the 
pines murmured their discontent that they were thus 
forced to remain in one spot all their lives. Ah, how 
Harald had seen them tug at their roots when the ele- 
ments were aroused and went calling in the wind for 
their earthly kin to follow ; but no. there they stood, 
and must stand until they became hoary with age, or 



176 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

until the wood-chopper cut them down in their prime. 
"Blessed trees," said he, "you are not compelled to 
work out your salvation with fear and trembling." 

As Harald had fasted since the evening before 
he now felt weak. He would have to husband his 
strength, or it would fail him before he returned to 
his home; so he walked more slowly and chose the 
easiest paths. At noon, the mountains were yet some 
distance ahead of him. The earth below him had be- 
come hidden in a mist, and he looked out as if on a 
sea of smoke. Before him the peaks arose into the 
clear air. He knew their distance, and considered he 
could reach the summit in two hours more. 

About the middle of the afternoon, he came to 
the timber line. From there on, nothing but rocks and 
low bushes appeared. He sat again to rest before he 
should finally make his journey to the summit. On the 
sunny side of a rocky ledge were a number of butter- 
flies darting hither and thither in the warm air. One 
of them fluttered on to his hand for an instant, and 
then spread its yellow wings again. 

Yes, once you were an ugly, gray worm, Harald 
thought. Once you lived on the earth — in the earth, 
rather. You crawled in the dust ; you ate coarse food ; 
you knew nothing but what you came in direct con- 
tact with ; you did not then dream of living in the 
air, floating on the summer breezes — or did you ? Who 
can tell? Who knows the secrets of that gray worm? 
Who can tell but that within its tiny cell a world of 
thought existed — then you went to sleep. You lay 
wrapped in your cerements, all through the long, cold 



FROM DESPAIR TO PROMISE. 177 

winter. You were as dead, though we know your life 
still remained in you. Thus you lay until the warm 
sunlight of heaven touched you with its magic 
rays. You awoke ; you arose as from the 
grave ; you passed from one world to another ; you 
spread your golden wings, and flew into space. Xow 
you live on the nectar of flowers. Now you go where 
you will. You have been born again. You now see 
the beauty and light of the world, yea, live in and 
partake of that beauty and light. Before, you lived 
in the kingdom of the earth ; now, you live in the king- 
dom of the air. 

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 

How much, then, is man like the butterfly ! He, 
also, must be born again. That is the only process by 
which he can shake off the old man of sin and put on 
the new man of righteousness. Yes, man must be born 
again, "born of water and of the Spirit," or he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God. 

Harald went on up the mountain. There was no 
path, so he was obliged to make his way slowly over 
the rough hill-side. At last he reached the top of the 
peak, where he found a small, level space, strewn with 
loose boulders. 

Once more he rested. Other peaks could be seen 
farther on, but there were smaller hills and valleys 
between. Towards Akerby the country seemed to 
terminate suddenly, and the ocean lay stretched out to 
the distant horizon. The low-lands were yet under 
the summer mist. Not a sound arose to him, not a 



178 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

human object was in sight; no bird sang; not an in- 
sect chirped. The hilltop was bare, so the breeze had 
nothing to sway nor play upon. Harald was now 
surely alone, alone with his God! He sat on a large 
boulder on the side of the hill, looking down towards 
Akerby. What had he come that long distance for? 
Would not God have answered his prayer in the secrets 
of his own room, as well as here? True enough, but 
he had been compelled to get out — and then he had 
read of how God had talked to men in ancient days 
— from the tops of mountains. He remembered Moses 
and the prophets of Israel. He recalled Abraham, and 
how God had commanded him to take his son, his only 
son Isaac, whom he loved, and offer him unto the Lord 
as a burnt offering on the mountain. Yes ; God had 
also called him to the mountain ; called on him to lay 
his all on the altar. Would God provide a ram in the 
thicket for him? 

Then he went to the center of the level space on 
the summit, and with a stone marked the outlines of a 
small square. Gathering the larger stones lying loose 
near by, he placed them true to the line, making a 
walled square. The inside, he filled with smaller stones. 
Over the top of the structure he placed the smoothest 
stones he could find, and then his altar was ready. 

The sun was nearing the western horizon. The 
!>r<'eze had fallen to a zephyr. The world was silent. 
Taking off his hat, he laid it on the ground, and knelt 
by the altar. Extending his arms over it he bowed 
his head into his hands. 

He had never before approached God in vocal 



FROM DESPAIR TO PROMISE. 179 

prayer, other than in the prescribed form of his church. 
He had come there to pray, to ask of God for wisdom, 
for light, but now words failed him. The old forms 
came to him, but it would be mockery to utter them for 
they could not express the emotions of his bursting 
heart. What could he do? What could he say? He 
rested heavily on the altar of stones. Then tears came 
to his relief, and he sobbed, sobbed as a child does on 
its mother's breast. "Grandmother, mother, Jesus," 
he said, "teach me, help me to pray." And then came 
that soft, angel-touch which gave him quiet, and that 
sweet voice whispered rather to his heart than into his 
ear — "Speak to God as a child speaketh to his father.'* 

Then he prayed. Out of the abundance of his 
heart, the words came to his lips. He spoke to God 
as one man -peak- to another, telling of his desires, 
of his sorrows, of his trials, of his ambitions, holding, 
nothing back. Then he asked for light, that he might 
be shown his duty ; asked for a testimony of the truth 
or the falseness of the doctrines brought to him by 
the "Mormon" elder. He pleaded for strength to em- 
brace it, if it were true, or for power to throw it from 
him, if it were false. "Father," he said, "I want to 
do the right, help me to do it. Let Thy light shine 
around me, let it enter my heart. I am weak, and but 
a child. I grope in darkness, not knowing what to 
do. Help me, show me Thy will, and then, O, Father 
in Heaven, I promise with Thy help to do my duty — 
only help me" — 

Still he prayed on, afraid to cease, for fear of the 
old dread coming back to him ; but at length as he 



180 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

grew faint he arose to his feet. Yet he was not satis- 
fied. He walked back and forth on the hill. The sun 
neared the horizon on the sea. 

Jacob had wrestled all night with the Lord. "I 
will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me" he had 
said. Jacob was in no greater need of a blessing than 
he. 

Once more he knelt by the altar and prayed ; but 
it was not until the third time that he arose satisfied. 

The sun had set, and the summer twilight brooded, 
like a benediction from God, over the land, as he made 
his way down the mountain. It would be an all-night's 
journey home, but a night in June is never dark. He 
was weak, but what matter ! There was an assurance 
in his soul that God would be with him. Miraculous 
manifestation he had not received ; but there was a 
peace in his heart which comforted him. The truth 
shone undiminished into his soul. From the hills he 
beheld the dim valleys lying in the shadows of night, 
but the sea reflected the light of the sky, and out be- 
yond it all, he could surely catch glimpses of the fail 
Land of Promise. 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 181 



VIII. 

harald's return to father and home. 

Early one summer morning in July, Harald Einer- 
sen was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints. It was then that the term "born 
of the water and of the Spirit" came to him in its full 
and true meaning; and the Fathers' promise was re- 
alized in his case, as it inevitably will be in all cases. 
He had proved the matter : he had done God's will, and 
had received a testimony. 

To be born again necessarily brings once more a 
period of childhood. In truth, che kingdom of God 
must be received as a little child or there is no admis- 
sion therein. He felt the force of the Savior's teach- 
ings, in this respect. He surely felt as a little child, 
and ah, the glory of that feeling! "Heaven lies about 
us in our infancy." The peace of a new life lay about 
him; he seemed shorn of all his grown-up egotism. 
He could now trust implicitly in the Power that ruled 
on high. To do his simple duty, and to trust in God, 
what joy in that! 

As in his first childhood he had looked forward 
with the trustful eye of faith, and had seen the glories 
of future accomplishments, so now, in the beginning of 
this new life, he looked into the future with buoyant 



182 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

hopes, even as a child, reveling in the beauties of the 
golden sands on the shore, looking out on the limitless 
ocean before him, and dreaming of its vaster pos- 
sibilities. 

Harald Einersen was now a "Mormon," and did 
not care how soon the world, his world at least, knew 
of it. The struggle had been long and hard, but it 
was now over, and he was satisfied. He knew now 
that if the political movement which he had helped 
to forward was to be carried on, some one else would 
have to do it. His leadership was at an end. He had 
gone into a new world, and this change was as com- 
plete as if he had died and had arisen in another sphere. 

The news that former Head Master Harald Einer- 
sen had become a "Mormon" spread rapidly through the 
town of Akerby, especially in the West district where he 
was well known. Pastor Bange rubbed his hands, 
smiled and said, "I suspected as much." Pastors 
Jensen and Skabo again recalled his peculiar mental 
condition earlier in the summer. There were univer- 
sal expressions of pity and regret for Mr. Einersen, 
and unqualified condemnation on the head of the crafty 
"Mormon" elder who had thus made such havoc with 
at least one soul. 

At the next meeting of the West Akerby Club, 
Harald was in his usual place. He was as calm and 
controled as ever, and some remarked to each other 
that his becoming a "Mormon" had not lessened his 
dignity. At this meeting Harald talked plainly to his 
friends, telling them he had nothing to conceal, he had 
done nothing for which he wished to apologize. "I 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 183 

have simply followed the right as God has given me 
to see it," he said. "If you, my friends, are doing that, 
I shall be the last one to find fault with you, or con- 
demn you. I ask the same consideration for myself. I 
know the full consequences of my action ; the contume- 
ly which I have brought down upon me ; but knowing 
also that when God calls, no man should disobey, I 
dared not do otherwise. The Master said that Tie that 
loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy 
of Me.' If Christ had laid His cross on you, would 
you refuse to carry it? — but, my friends, I will not 
talk religion to you — though I can give plain proof 
of my convictions, and if any wish to know them, I 
shall be pleased to have them call on me. What I now 
particularly wish to say is that you are not to distrust 
me. My past obligations to you and the cause of 
greater freedom are sacred ; nothing shall come from 
my lips to injure you or betray you. I must leave you, 
but that need not materially affect you. You may go 
on — and may God bless you in your work. I wish 
now to hand in my resignation, and it will be best that 
it be accepted." 

As he sat down, silence still continued in the hall. 
For a minute or two no one spoke or moved. He 
again arose and begged them to act on his resignation. 
Then a motion was made that it be accepted, which 
was carried unanimously, but without much spirit, it 
is true. Soon after, the meeting adjourned, and Har- 
ald Einersen walked home alone, for the first time 
since he had been connected with the West Akerby 
Club. 



184 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"No, you must not hold my room, Mrs. Jacobsen. 
I shall not need it longer. I may never come back to 
Akerby." 

Mrs. Jacobsen was very much concerned ; during 
the years of his residence with her, Harald had be- 
come more like a son than a mere boarder. There were 
tears in her eyes when he bade her farewell. 

The coast steamer bore him towards Vangen and 
Opdal. He was going home. The fact was, he hard- 
ly knew where else to go. He had suddenly become 
homeless in his native land, and friendless in the midst 
of hundreds of friends. So he would go home to 
Opdal, home to his father's humble cot, to his brothers 
and sisters, and to the grave of his grandmother. It 
would be useless to try for a position as school teach- 
er, as he was out of that for good, at least in the 
kingdom of Norway. He had not money enough to set 
up in business, so he would go home and await devel- 
opments. Besides he had the gospel message to bear to 
his kinsfolk. They must also hear it, and, oh, the joy 
if some of them would heed its call ! 

Harald landed at Vangen early one evening. He 
told the deliveryman on the wharf to take his trunk to 
the hotel, and he followed it. After supper he walked 
through the little town, looking at the familiar scenes 
in the old sea-port. Then he went into Merchant 
Bernhard's former place of business. The store looked 
much the same. A stranger, however, was behind the 
counter, and he informed Harald that Merchant Bern- 
hard had sold out some months ago, and he was now 
devoting his whole time to his business at Larvik. Mr. 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 185 

Bernhard hardly ever came to Vangen now, and Miss 
Bernhard — well, she had not been seen for a long time. 
The clerk had never met the young lady, and he knew 
very little about her. 

The next morning, Harald arose early and set 
out for Opdal. There had been a sprinkling of rain 
during the night, so the land was fresh and sweetly- 
scented. He greatly enjoyed the walk up the road 
bordering on the fjord, where recollections of boyhood 
scenes and exploits came to him at each new turn of 
the road. He remembered his row down the fjord, 
when first he went to Xordland. It seemed to the young 
man that he had lived a lifetime since then ; and now 
he was returning home very much like the child that 
went away that morning years ago to make a mark in 
the world. 

The sky was overcast with broken clouds ; but 
here and there, the sunshine emerged in streams of 
yellow light. Where it fell upon the ledges, it threw 
every detail of grass and moss and flower into distinct- 
ness. The fjord shone in radiant patches. Up over 
the hills, the forests yc*- stood in sombre silence. The 
woods were full of life; the birds sang; the squirrels 
ran from tree to tree, leaping from one extended branch 
to another. Harald often went from the road up the 
hillside, and found blue-berries to eat. 

A short distance from Opdal, he saw a man walk- 
ing slowly in front of him. By the gait and the way 
his cane was swinging, he knew it was Mr. Juel, the 
old schoolmaster. Harald quickened his steps, and 
soon overtook him. 

13 



186 THE CASTLE BUILDER. r 

The schoolmaster was getting old, too. He leaned* 
heavily on his cane, as he eyed Harald from head to 
foot. "Harald Einersen? Why, yes, certainly, I re- 
member you — but you've changed so. Didn't you have 
a beard the last time you were at Opdal ?" 

"Yes." Harald's face was now smooth. 

"That's why I did not recognize you. Well, I'm 
pleased to see you. You're home on your vacation, I 
suppose. I haven't heard of you for a long time. You 
were Head Master, then. Yes; I knew it was in you. 
I'm always glad to hear of my boys getting along in 
the world." 

The two walked slowly up the road. Harald did not 
tell his companion of the changes in his life. He would 
discover it soon enough; besides, the young man had 
an idea that his brother should be the first to hear of 
the tidings of great joy which he had to bring. Harald 
asked the schoolmaster many questions about the peo- 
ple in and around Opdal. 

"Your father, too, is getting old," Harald was 
told. "Yes ; he still drinks, when he can get a chance ; 
but the boys are all sober and God-fearing. In fact, 
I understand that Holger is studying for the ministry. 
Pastor Ingman is encouraging him very much. Oh, 
yes, Holger took to the catechism as a duck takes to 
water — not like you, eh?" 

"But, you know, I learned mine well, and ought to 
have stood at the head, at confirmation." 

"Yes, I remember. Well, I'll tell you, if you have 
not already learned it, that everything that goes under 



-\ 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 187 

the name of religion is not religion. Religion has not 
escaped the general adulterations of the age." 

"I have found that to be true, Mr. Juel." 

'Take your father, for instance, I respect that 
man, in spite of his great weakness. He gets drunk, 
and when he is drunk he often abuses his wife and chil- 
dren ; but I tell you, Harald Einersen, aside from this, 
there is a heart of gold in Einer, the logger ; there is 
substance to him, there is honesty, and, above all, there 
is not a trace of hypocrisy in your father. Harald, I 
want you to honor him for these things." 

"I am glad to hear you say that." answered Har- 
ald. 

The clearing and the two houses were now in 
sight. Before Harald parted with the schoolmaster, 
he promised to call on him. As he was to remain at 
Opdal for some time, they would have many talks to- 
gether. 

Harald left the road before he came to the path 
leading up to his father'* house. The little, one- 
roomed house where he and his grandmother had lived 
was still standing, and lie wished to take a peep at it 
first. He found it was falling to decay- The weeds 
and grass now grew up to the very door step ; the lit- 
tle glass window had been taken out, and boards had 
been nailed up. His mother's flower garden was no 
more. The shrubs and climbing vines had been taken 
away from the walls. 

Harald pushed the door open, and went in. One 
end of the room was piled high with wood, the result 
of the industry of one of his brothers, no doubt; but 



188 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

for the wood, the room was vacant. Harald seated 
himself on the chopping block and looked around. 

This, then, was his birthplace. Here his mother 
had died, leaving him to the care of his grandmother, 
and here they had lived together. Right in that corn- 
er, by the old pot-stove, the rude cradle had stood, 
and grandmother had sat, hour after hour, many and 
many a day, rocking that cradle and humming a dron- 
ing melody for him to sleep, the stocking leg growing 
longer and longer, meanwhile. Oh, the hardships of 
those days ! Oh, the joy of their childhood innocence ! 
Grandmother's teachings came to him again. They 
had been truly prophetic, and the blessed assurance 
that he would be able to help her some day gave him 
unspeakable joy. There the bed had stood. By it he 
had repeated his little prayer that she had taught 
him. 

Harald's eyes grew dim. He went to the door 
and looked about. He could hear children's voices over 
at "the other house," but no one was in sight. He 
went in again, closing the door after him, which made 
the hut dim and cool. Then Harald knelt by the log 
of wood, and offered a prayer. He had gotten into the 
habit of doing this, not only night and morning, but 
as often as place and circumstance prompted him. It 
was his main source of strength. 

Then he walked over to his father's house, and, 
as he went, he wondered whether or not he was the 
prodigal son. 

The children in the yard stopped their playing 
when they caught sight of him. They did not know 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 189 

him. The mother came to the door, but she did not 
recognize him until he spoke. 

Of course, they were all pleased to see him. Fath- 
er was away, as usual, and would not return for a 
week. Holger and Jens were working at a neighbor- 
ing farm. Hulda was reading with the priest, getting 
ready for confirmation. There were three younger 
children, who stood around Harald, barefooted and 
bareheaded, with eyes and mouths open in big wonder. 

The step-mother was plainly embarrassed to know 
how to provide for Head Master Einersen. Another 
room had been built on to the house, but still every- 
thing was poor and crude, and Harald had, no doubt, 
been used to fine things for many years past. He, how- 
ever, understood well her disadvantages, and soon 
made her feel that all he wanted was a welcome to 
stay and share with them their lot for a short time. 

The next morning saw him dressed in farmer 
costume, digging in the garden which of late had be- 
come sadly neglected. He soon won the good graces 
of the children, and they all became fast friends. For 
a rest, he took them all up into the woods to pick 
berries. That afternoon, Hulda came home to see her 
brother. She was a bright girl, but somewhat shy of the 
learned "Professor Einersen," as the neighbors called 
him. Then the brothers also came home, and the next 
day, the father, having heard that Harald was home, 
could not resist the longing to see him. 

What a field was here for Harald ! To convert 
his whole family to the same gospel truths which he 
had received was certainly a task worthy of any sacri- 



190 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

fice or labor; and they certainly could not help but 
understand. He would make his explanations so clear 
that "a wayfaring man, though a fool need not err" 
— and they were not fools by any means. 

Harald did not go abruptly about this work. He 
approached his brothers first, leading them carefully on 
to religious topics. Then he preached faith, repent- 
ance, and baptism to them ; but they did not get en- 
thusiastic over his talk. At last, he came out boldly 
and told them his whole experience. He put into his 
words all the fervor of his own conversion, but a 
blank look of astonishment was all he saw in their faces. 

"And have you become a 'Mormon?' " exclaimed 
Holger. 

"That is what I shall be called." 

"Why, that is terrible. Oh, brother, how could 
you ! I must not listen to your talk." 

Harald pleaded and explained, but it was no use. 
The whole household, from the mother to the smallest 
child, seemed frightened at him. Holger, especially, 
became bitter, telling him he had no business coming 
home with such detestable doctrine. It was a disgrace 
to be associated with such vile people, a people every- 
where spoken evil of. 

Harald was both astonished and grieved. Day 
after day, he dug in the garden and went into the 
woods alone. His father had gone back to his work, 
but when he should come home again Harald would no 
doubt have to pack up and leave. 

He would go to his father and tell him the whole 
truth before Holger should give him a wrong impres- 



TO FATHER AND HOME. 191 

sion. He would be first, anyway, and abide by the 
result. 

Harald found his father in the pine-woods, away 
back in the hills, and his heart went out to him when 
he saw how slowly he worked. They sat down on a 
fallen tree, and talked for some time, and then Har- 
ald tried his hand at swinging the ax. 

"A little bungling, but you haven't quite forgot- 
ten, " said his father. "Harald, I'm glad you came. 
The men have gone down to the river today, and I 
would have been alone tonight." 

That evening, in the hut among the pine-clad 
hills, after the supper had been eaten, Harald told his 
story, delivered his message to his father. He sat 
on one side of the rude pine-board table with his Bible 
open before him ; his father sat on the other side smok- 
ing his pipe. The lamp burned red through the grime 
on the chimney. 

For hours Harald talked, for he had never felt 
so free before. Explanations came easily to him. The 
father listened, saying not a word. When Harald 
would seem to stop, the father would simply say, "Go 
on." His pipe went out, and he placed it on the table. 
He leaned over, drinking in eagerly every word that 
fell from the lips of his son. 

Outside was the stillness of night. The wind 
moaned in the pines. The night darkened towards 
the midnight hour; still the two men sat by the table, 
the young man talking, the old man intently listening. 
At last Harald paused. 

"What do you think of it, father?" 



192 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

The old man pushed back the stool on which he 
had been sitting, arose to his feet, and said : 

"Thank God, thank God, the truth has come at 
last. My son, what you have been telling me is the 
everlasting truth of God. I have awaited for it many, 
many years, and now it has come — and you, my son, 
have brought it." 

The man sank down on his knees by the table, 
as if overcome. Harald kneeled beside him, and put 
his arm around his shoulder. Then the father prayed 
as Harald had never heard him pray before. He 
poured out his whole heart in words of gratitude, and 
Harald's soul said amen to every uttered word. 

All that night, they lay in their bed and talked, 
sleep not coming to their eyes until the morning, when 
they dozed for a short time. That day the father could 
not work; and when Harald prepared to return home, 
the father gathered up his tools, locked the cabin door, 
and went home with him. 

"We'll see. about this/' he said. "Harald, you 
may send for Elder Olsen as soon as you wish." 



MERCHANT BERXHARD. 193 



IX. 



AN INTERVIEW WITH MERCHANT BERNHARD. 

Some natures need to be patiently trained into a 
truth ; others get it only by careful argument and a 
fierce struggle with themselves ; others, again, grasp 
it at first sight. Einer Gundersen belonged to the lat- 
ter class. With him, to hear was to understand. The 
gospel message ''pricked him to the heart;" to under- 
stand was to obey. There was no struggle with him, 
no debating what to do with a great problem, no fears 
of what the world might say or do. The gospel came 
to him as something precious which he had known be- 
fore, but had forgotten. Now that he had found it again, 
he decided not to let it pass lightly away. 

Elder Olsen and companion soon arrived at Opdal, 
and Einer Gundersen announced to the neighbors that 
a gospel meeting would be held in his house. He gave 
Pastor Ingman and Mr. Juel special invitations, which 
the pastor declined, but the schoolmaster accepted. Hol- 
ger and Jens attended because their father had rather 
forcibly requested them to. Gundersen's wife was, at 
first, somewhat nervous when she heard that two 
"Mormons" were to hold a meeting in her house, but 
she dared not object to her husband's plans. The ar- 
rival of the preachers reassured her somewhat. The 
afternoon before the first meeting, they both took off 



194 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

their coats and helped Harald gather the hay. They 
worked as if they had been in the hay field before. 
The father was delighted with them. 

"Well, yes," said one of them, in reply to a ques- 
tion, "I put up one hundred and fifty tons of hay on 
my farm the summer before leaving home. I ought to 
know something about hay." 

The little room was well filled that evening. The 
schoolmaster sat in one corner, by the side of the 
speaker, and the master of the house sat on the other 
side. Einer Gundersen seemed to be in a quiet rapture 
all the evening, although none of the others showed 
signs of any great interest. No one asked any ques- 
tions when the opportunity was given at the close of 
the meeting. The timberman was greatly astonished 
at this lack of enthusiasm. 

The next day the two elders, Harald, and his 
father, went down to the pond, where Einer Gunder- 
sen received the ordinances of baptism and the laying 
on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. 

The advent of the "Mormons" created quite a 
stir in the neighborhood, especially when it became 
known that both Harald and his father had become 
converts. Harald's dream of converting all his re- 
lations and friends soon vanished, but he took great 
comfort in having his father with him. The boys 
seemed impenetrable. At last they would neither listen 
nor reas on, so they were left alone. 

<Eut a new force had entered the life of Einer' 
Gundersen, a force that gave him power over the ad- 
versary of his soul. From the hour of his baptism 



MERCHANT BERNHARD. 195 

to his death, Einer Gundersen did not once taste of 
intoxicating liquor. When the elders, who often vis- 
ited him, told him that it was not right to use tobacco, 
he at once threw away his pipe, and that was the end 
of it. In very deed he had been born again into an- 
other life. What little money* he earned, he brought 
home to his wife, who, though she could not see as 
he did in the matter of religion, thanked God for the 
change in his lifeTj 

But HaraTcTcould not stay at Opdal. He must be 
doing something more than dig in the garden and herd 
sheep. He thought of going to Bergen or to Chris- 
tiania, where there were large branches of the Church. 
He also contemplated going to America, now that fu- 
ture prospects in Norway were small ; but, to be plain, 
Thora Bernhard was yet somewhere in his native land ; 
and, he must at least, learn something definite about 
her before he left. 

Towards the close of the summer, he went down 
to Vangen, and took steamer to Larvik. Everything 
was quiet around the Bernhard residence. The grass 
had been neglected, and certainly there had been no 
flower beds in the lawn that summer. There was a des- 
erted air about the house. He had visited the place 
only once before, but then it had been in Thora's 
gentle care. 

A servant answered Harald's ring, who informed 
him that Mr. Bernhard was at home. 

He found the merchant an old man. His hair was 
white, and his hand trembled as Harald took it in 
his own. How lonely he appeared? Thora must still 



196 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

be away. What a pity, what a shame that he should 
be thus left alone ! Why was she not here to take 
care of her father? 

The old man peered at Harald from beneath his 
shaggy eyebrows, failing to recognize him at first. 

'And so you are Harald Einersen, are you? Sit 
down, sit down. Yes ; I remember meeting you at 
Akerby. You had been teaching school, you said, but 
were then studying law. You are not a f .11-fledged 
lawyer yet — but you young fellows — th -e's no telling 
what you can do. Now, in my days, it took time to 
learn a trade or prepare for a profession, but now — 
well, well, and you are young Einersen?" 

The merchant, evidently, did not know of Harald's 
later history. 

"And now you're going home on a visit, I sup- 
pose." 

"I have been at home for some time." 

"Then perhaps you're going back to Akerby. Well, 
I'm glad you called. You see, I'm pretty lonely at 
times, and lately I haven't been able to be out at all." 

Harald explained that he was not going back to 
Akerby, just then. The merchant called his servant, 
and ordered coffee. 

"You're not in a great hurry, I know, so take off 
your coat, and stay the evening. I want someone to 
talk to." 

Harald's heart went out to the lonely old man. 
"I shall be pleased to stay," he said. "Miss Bern- 
hard is not yet at home, I presume." 

"No ; Thora is not at home." The merchant went 



MERCHANT BERNHARD. 197 

on with his rambling talk. Not another reference did 
he make to his daughter, and although Harald tried to 
lead the conversation around to her, the subject was 
avoided every time. 

"Yes ; I am getting old ; and although I have made 
considerable money in my time, I can't say that my 
life has been a success. What is a successful life? Is it 
to be able to die alone, deserted, as I shall die ? I have 
money, but it cannot buy what I want. Young man, 
it's all right to make money, but be sure that in your 
old age you have something more than money in your 
treasury." 

Harald talked to the old man as one would talk 
to a sick or fretful child, and his words had the de- 
sired effect. The merchant soon ceased his own com- 
ments and, leaning contentedly back in his arm-chair, 
listened to the young man. Harald was surely inspired 
to say what he did that evening. He thought of it 
afterwards, how he was able to remember his grand- 
mother's teachings, harmonize them with the words of 
the "Mormon"' elders and the scriptures, and make 
reference to thoughts that seemed to spring instantly 
into his mind. At any rate, his words had the effect 
of music to the old man's soul, and when he ceased and 
made ready to leave, the merchant clung to him, beg- 
ging him to stay. 

"I wish I had a son like you — excuse me, Einer- 
sen, but I can't help it. My business is going to ruin. 
I have no one to look after it." The tears were now 
rolling down the old man's face as he stood clinging 
to Harald and urging him not to go. 



198 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Ill stay as long as you wish," said Harald. 

"Then stay with me always — there! you see I am 
childish — but I do want some one, I want you — you 
can help me in the business, I can trust you. Thora 
always spoke well of you." 

The old man sank again into a chair. He covered 
his face with his hands as if in shame that a forbidden 
thought had entered his mind, a forbidden word had es- 
caped his lips. Harald stood over him, until he saw 
the old man's form shake with emotion, then he drew 
a chair up to him and put his arm over the bowed 
shoulders. Harald himself could hardly speak, but he 
would try once more to learn something about Thora. 

"Tell me about Thora? he said. "Excuse me, but 
I must know. What is this mystery? Why is she 
not here to take care of you? Mr. Bernhard, you can 
trust me. I have loved your daughter ever since we 
were children. I love her yet. Tell me the truth about 
her, and if it is as awful as you seem to think, let my 
heart break with yours." 

The old man sobbed aloud, but said nothing. Har- 
ald, also, choked, while wild conjectures ran through 
his brain. Was, then Thora lost to him, too? She 
was not dead. Was her fate worse than death ! 

"Mr. Bernhard, come, tell me, tell me — " 
"Sh," said the merchant, as he arose. His face 
was pale and set, but his emotions were again under 
control. "Sh! you must not mention her name in my 
hearing. I am but a father and may relent. Listen — 
my daughter must not enter my door as long as I live. 
She would come tomorrow, did I but say the word, but 



MERCHANT BERNHARD. 199 

my door is barred against her ! You must not ask why 
— you must not mention her name — I will not talk of 
her — perhaps you would better go now. Come back to- 
morrow; I want to talk business with you. Good 
night \" 

Harald went out into the street with the sweat of 
agony on his face. An icy hand seemed struggling to 
grasp his heart and stop its beating. 



200 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



X. 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 



Harald returned hurriedly to his lodgings, and 
retired ; but sleep would not come, and,as he could not 
bear to lie thus all the night, he arose, dressed, and 
went out. He walked up the steep streets of Larvik, 
and over the hill to the beach-grove which, at this 
season of the year, was deserted. The falling leaves 
rustled beneath his feet. The air was cold, so he kept 
moving, although he felt tempted to lie down on a 
pile of leaves to gaze out on Faris Lake, which lay 
fair in the moonlight, at the foot of the hill. 

He could not rid his mind of its terrible thoughts 
about Thora ; Thora, who had been his star of hope, 
during all these years ; Thora whose sweet face had 
looked at him from his study table. That picture did 
not lie ; those eyes were windows through which he 
could see a soul, pure and sweet. Yet Thora was not 
now permitted to cross her father's threshold, and 
the old man in his lonliness would die rather than 
forgive her and take her back. 

The night deepened, and the wind arose, causing 
the waters of the lake to dance in shining billows, yet 
I [arald continued to tread the footpaths through the 
grove. His heart was heavy, and at times a stinging 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 201 

pain shot through it. If she had only died ! The hope 
of making Thora his wife had vanished in the incense 
of the altar on which he had sacrificed his all for the 
gospel's sake, and he had ceased thinking about her in 
that light ; so it was not the thought that she was los f 
to him that caused him such agony — it was another 
an indefinite, yet awful fear. 

But he did not return to his home that night be- 
fore laying his burden before God, and asking Him 
for a blessing on Thora Bernhard. He was comforted 
in prayer, and went home to sleep until late that morn- 
ing. 

Shortly after noon, Harald returned to the mer- 
chant's. 

''You are late,'' he said to Harald. "Why did you 
not come earlier? I have been waiting for you." 

"I overslept myself,'' was the reply. 

"Yes, well, I suppose — I am selfish — I think only 
of myself." 

The old man held Harald's hand in his own, as he 
said : 

"You promised last night that you would stay 
with me as long as I wanted you. That may be a long 
time, but are you still in that mind?" 

"If I can help you, I wish to do so. I have, at 
present, no engagements." 

"Then I engage you. State your salary. I must 
have some help if I keep up my business." 

So Harald agreed to stay with the merchant that 
winter, or until such a time as his services should not 
be needed. He thought such a time might come when 

14 



202 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

his religious standing became known. However, there 
was no need of publicly proclaiming that he was a 
'Mormon." The merchant was in need of help which 
he could give, and if he could assist and comfort 
Thora's father, why should he not do so? 

He moved his few belongings to the Bernhard res- 
idence, the merchant insisting that he should live with 
him. If need be, he would put it in the contract, he 
said. The time not needed down at the little office 
in the warehouse, Harald should spend at the house, 
at least until such a time as the merchant would be able 
to get out again. 

The two men were drawn together by that con- 
geniality of spirits which is often found in persons 
having similar tasts. Both were lovers of books, and 
the long evenings were spent in the library in reading 
and talking. Social economy, politics, history, and 
religion, were all considered, and Harald could well 
keep up his end of the conversation on any of these 
topics. He himself was delighted when he discovered 
that his religious knowledge could be brought to bear, 
even as a great searchlight, on any of the arts and sci- 
ences, and illumine many a dark corner of doubt. The 
evenings were usually ended by the merchant leaning 
against his pillows listening in silence to the young 
man's talk. 

The old man was of a religious nature, but dog- 
matic in the extreme. Set in his beliefs and opinions, 
it would be worse than useless to say anything against 
them ; but Harald could slowly and quietly unfold to 
him the beauties of the gospel plan, could show him the 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 203 

desirability of living in the newer and clearer light, 
and then, in time, the old man might see the unde- 
sirableness of the mists about him. 

He said not a word about "Mormonism," or the 
Latter-day Saints, or Joseph Smith, but he talked to 
him of "the gospel." He took him, in an easy, phil- 
osophical way, back to first principles, and discussed 
the whys and wherefores of life. 

"We are living as it were between two eternities,'' 
he said. "This life is but a meeting point of the past 
and the future. The past stretches out to an eternity ; 
the future reaches into never ending time. Mortal 
birth is not the beginning of the soul's existence any 
more than death is its end. We are eternal beings, 
on the great highway of evolutionary progress, and 
this life is but one of its stages. Our future courso 
depends greatly on what we do here, for one life leads na- 
turally to another, as in school one course follows an- 
other. God is the great Schoolmaster. We are pupils. 
Sometimes the Master seems harsh, for we suffer ; we 
complain because we cannot see God's purposes. Who 
knows but that suffering is often a door into a higher 
department?" 

"Where did you learn to preach so well?" asked 
Mr. Bernhard, one evening, after Harald had talked 
for half on hour without an interruption. "I think 
there is one more calling open to you, my young friend, 
if you wish to try it." 

He smiled at the old man. but did not answer 
him directly. 

"Well, I don't quite understand it," he continued. 



204 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

r^ our talk is so wonderfully elevating; and although 
it doesn't always agree with what I have been taught 
to believe, I cannot find fault with it. It is simple, 
yet sublime ; it is deep, yet free from mystery ; it is 
solemnity itself, yet full of light as a summer's dayT3 

"Thank you," said Harald, "I am glad to hear 
you say that. The young man knew his words were 
having effect. It might be very slight, but a continued 
play of warm sunshine will eventually melt the largest 
iceberg. 

The merchant was certainly improving in spirits 
and in health. On warm afternoons, he would venture 
out for short walks, leaning on the young man's arm. 
He became much more cheerful, also ; and, once or 
twice, he mentioned Thora's name without any display 
of ill feeling. Harald, however, never asked him -for 
further information regarding her. 

Not that Harald had ceased to think of her. No; 
she was in his thoughts more than ever, sir.ee he had 
received an assurance that Thora's condition was not 
the awful one he had at first thought. Just as soon 
as the business could be safely left, and the merchant 
hi nself was a little stronger, Harald intended to dis- 
cover the whole truth. He was continually on the 
watch to learn something of her, but strangely enough 
she was as if dead to all whom he could approach. 
He watched the mails closely for any letter from her, 
but none ever came. 

Thus winter came on, and the ice filled Larvik 
fjord, stopping the shipping, for a time. There was 
little to do and Merchant Bernhard was well enough 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 205 

to attend to business a short time each day. Thora 
was in Christiania. He had learned that much. He 
would now take a run to the capital by the train. He 
could stand the uncertainty no longer. 

The day before the planned departure, he received 
a letter, addressed to him in a familiar handwriting. 
Was the silence to be broken at last? Did it brine 
good news or bad? Yes, the letter was from Thora. 
It read : 

Dear Friend Harald: 

I have just learned that you are staying with my father, 
and I make bold to write you about him. Is he still in 
health? — I will not say good health — but is he able to be 
about and attend to his business? I have not heard from 
him for some months, and am anxious to know. Kindly 
send me a line in answer. 

Respectfully, your friend, 

Thora Bern hard. 

He read the short letter over and over. Not a 
word of greeting for him, not an indication of how she 
felt, only a solicitude for her father. 

He delayed his trip to Christiania for a few days. 
To answer the letter was a task, and it was not until 
he had written half a dozen that he got one that satis- 
fied him. In it, he told her of her father's condition, 
how he was improving in spirits and health, and how 
he, Harald, was doing all in his power to help him. 

"Your letter was exceedingly meagre in news 
about yourself," he wrote. "Will you please answer 
this letter and tell how you are getting along. I should 
very much like to know. Believe me, I am your fath- 



THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

er's friend, and yours, I hope. Let me help you both." 

That was as far as he dared to go, though he 

longed to pour out his soul to her. He hoped it would 

bring an answer which would give another opportunity. 

In a few days, the reply came : 

You say that you are father's friend, and hope you are 
mine. I thank you sincerely for your kindness to father, 
and I pray that God will bless you out of the abundance 
of His riches. I do not know what father has told you 
about me, but I conclude from your letter that he has said 
very little, and you, no doubt, have wondered why I am 
not at home taking care of my aged parent, being a comfort 
to him in his old age; but I may tell you that the sweetest 
words I could receive would be those from him, "Come 
home, daughter." 

I am wondering now what brought you to Larvik. 
The last I heard of you you were Headmaster of the West 
Akerby School. Now you are at our Larvik home, taking 
the place of an absent child; you are enjoying the confi- 
dence of Merchant Bernhard. I envy you, I am jealous of 
you. 

But you asked for tidings of myself, as it I were any- 
body worthy of notice. Xo; I am "one of the least." I 
fear you would not be interested in my doings during the 
last year. Previous to that time, I roamed about the world 
a good deal, and >a\v much of it — so much, in fact, that I 
wearied of it. About a year ago, I left the world — I hope 
the death of the body will not be harder than that of leav- 
ing the world was — yes; truly and verily, I separated from 
all that was near and dear in this world, yes, even my only 
near relative, my father. You, I am sure, will not care to 
know anything of one in such a state as I, you will not wish 
anything to do with her. Do I speak in parables? Well, 
if I do, it ; s because of my weakness in not wishing to lose 
one friend more — one who says he is pleased to call me hi> 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 207 

friend. Oh, dear friend, if you only knew! I wonder if it 
would make a difference in you? But are you different to 
humankind? I am only asking you — you may answer, if 
you like. 

Now I shall not tell you more. If you wish to know — 
if you wish to know why I am an outcast from my father's 
house, ask me in your next letter, and I shall tell you; but 
I warn you fairly, for the knowledge may make you hate me 
forever. 

The mystery deepened. The letter with its vague 
suggestions was a puzzle to Harald ; yet his heart went 
out to the writer, because he read the depth of feeling 
between every line. He delayed not in asking Thora 
for the whole truth. 

It was a week before the answering letter came. 
It was as bulky as a manuscript. He kept it until the 
evening, when he w r as alone in his room. In no hurry 
to open it, he lay it on the table while he tried to glance 
at the paper. He put more coal in the stove, as if 
the task of reading it would be long and burdensome ; 
but at last, when there was nothing else to be done, 
he almost feared to open it. Did it contain his sen- 
tence, his banishment to the land of despair ? 

At last, he began to read. Sheet after sheet was 
hurriedly scanned, then he read slowly, until he spent 
fully five minutes on the last sheet, the reason being 
perhaps, that his eyes were dimmed with tears 

He went to the library door and knocked. No 
one answered. He entered, but the servant appeared 
and told him the merchant had gone to bed. Going 
back to his own room through the parlor, he noticed 
a picture hanging with the glass to the wall. "How 



JOS THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

careless the servant is," thought he, as he went up to 
the picture and turned it around. It was a portrait of 
i'hora. Harald understood, but he left it hanging in 
proper position. 

The next morning he could not wait for break- 
fast to be announced, so went out for a walk until he 
should be wanted. After breakfast, instead of going 
to the office as usual, he told the merchant that he 
wished to speak with him in the library. Harald had 
eaten very little, and had acted oddly, all of which the 
merchant noticed. 

"Sit down, Harald," said Mr. Bernhard. "Don't 
stand up like that." 

"No; 111 just stand here." 

"What's the matter with you?" 

"I must give you my resignation," said Harald 
with an effort to be calm. "I cannot work for you 
longer." 

"Do you want more wages? I gave you what you 
asked, and will increase it if you say so now ; but I 
can't listen to your leaving me. What would I do?" 

"But I have been unfair to you, Mr. Bernhard. I 
am a usurper here. You do not know the whole truth 
regarding me. What Thora Bernhard should have en- 
joyed, as your child, I have received." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Yesterday, I received a long letter from your 
daughter, Thora, wherein she told me her whole story." 

"What! that she had become a "Mormon?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, and why should that make you leave me. 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 209 

Harald, my boy, it is bad enough as it is, but don't 
you desert me, too." 

The old man arose and leaned heavily on the table 
in front of him. I can't help the disgrace of having 
such a child. I did all I could to prevent it." 

"And this is why you have disowned your child !" 

''Yes; is it not enough?" 

Harald's face was pale, and the corners of his 
mouth twitched painfully. 

"Then I also have no right to your esteem!" 

"I don't understand." 

"I, too, am a Mormon." 

The old man looked fixedly at Harald, as if he 
did not hear. Then he sank down into his chair. 

"You, you, too, a Mormon!" he gasped. "What 
does it all mean?" 

rTt means, Mr. Bernhard, that I, too, am one of 
thoseclespised people called 'Mormons.' I am in your 
eyes no better than your daughter. Nay, she, brave, 
honest soul, is yet far above me. What I have suf- 
fered cannot compare with what she has endured. Oh, 
but I thought she had become something fallen and 
low — God forgive me for the thought — but now, I 
cannot express my gratitude." 

The old man was now quite strong, and it did not 
take him long to rally from the blow. 

"You are a Mormon, Mr. Einersen," he said, 
with some warmth, "and not ashamed of it?" 

"Not ashamed, but truly grateful." 

"Why did you not tell me of this before? Why 
should I treat you as a son, I who have made my 



210 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

daughter an outcast — and you are no better than she." 

"Nay, not so good." 

"I have treated you as a son, and this is my re- 
ward ! I have listened to your fine discourses. You, 
no doubt, thought to make a Mormon out of me also." 

"In our talks, Mr. Bernhard, have I ever told 
you anything false? Have I ever advanced any doc- 
trine that has not been according to scripture, and 
elevating in its nature?" 

''That was not Mormonism." 

"My dear friend, I have told you nothing but 
'Mormonism,' pure and simple. "7 Under any other 
name, you say it is true, it is beautiful ; the change of 
name cannot change the nature of the doctrine." 

"I will not argue with you! You would better 

go." 

"Yes ; I am going to Christiania after Thora Bern- 
hard." 

"Yes; go to her. I do not care." 

"But I am going to bring her to Larvik. I am 
going to bring her to her father." 

"Not to me!" 

"Yes ; to you, Merchant Bernhard, and you must 
not object. Have I not shown you by my actions what 
a 'Mormon' can be to you — yet even I cannot do you 
the good that your daughter can. Oh, you do not know 
what you are missing." 

Harald's firmness had its effect on the old man. 

"I know what religious prejudice is," continued 
I larald. "I know that the hate engendered by that 
prejudice is stronger than anything else. I know that 



THE MYSTERY OF THORA. 211 

all crimes have been forgiven but the crime of heresy. 
I know also that fathers have burned their daughters at 
the stake, because those daughters were firm in what 
they believed to be the truth. I know 'Mormonism' 
to be truth. Your daughter also knows it, and you 
should honor her the more for her fearlessness in ac- 
cepting an unpopular religion in the face of such odds." 

"Harald, be kind," the old man nearly sobbed ; 
"I know not my own mind. Leave me. Talk no 
more to me. I must have time to think. 

"I will go. This afternoon, I shall take the train 
for Christiania. I shall bring back to you a daughter 
as precious and as pure as gold refined seven times 
through the furnace." 

But the old man bowed his face into his hands in 
silence. 



212 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 



XI. 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 



Snow was falling when Harald reached Chris- 
tiania. The short winter day was closing, the gas 
lamps had been lighted, and a smoky haze had set- 
tled down over the city. He curbed his impetuosity, 
and waited until the next morning to call on Thora. 

Her address led him to the outskirts of the city, 
away towards the fields where the rents were low. The 
street-car took him to within two blocks of the place, 
and then he walked on towards the street which 
had been extended into the country like a long arm 
stretching out from the body. 

His heart beat fast as he climbed the stairs to the 
second story of the house. He paused for breath by 
the door bearing the proper number, fearful lest he 
should make a noise. The halls were still — no one 
seemed to be moving. Perhaps he had come out too 
early. He looked at his watch which marked the 
hour of half past ten. 

Standing there ''to settle his nerves," he heard the 
faint clicking of a sewing machine, accompanied by 
a low hum of a human voice coming from the room 
directly in front of him. Was it Thora. already at 
work ? 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 213 

Giving the little handle by the side of the door 
a pull, he heard a bell tingle within the room. The 
noise of the machine stopped, and light footsteps 
came towards him. The door opened and Thora 
Bernhard stood before him ! 

It was the Thora of years ago, rather than the 
Thora of the picture. Though faller than when he 
had last seen her, she had the same thin, pale cheeks, 
full lips, and large, expressive eyes, now so full of 
life's meaning — it might have been the day after her 
confirmation. Thora did not know him until he spoke. 
Then the color bathed her neck, and mounted to her 
face. 

"Good morning, sister," he said. 

"Good morning, sir. Is it — is it Mr. Einersen?" 

"And you do not know me ? I must have changed. 
I could have picked you out from the largest crowd 
that ever promenaded on Karl Johan." 

"Well, come in, then. You must excuse my un- 
tidiness ; but I have been at work all the morning, and, 
of course, I did not expect visitors." 

She placed him a chair, then busied herself with 
picking up the litter from her dress-making, shoving 
the machine into a corner. He could see that she was 
somewhat embarrassed. 

Harald was a little disappointed. He had pic- 
tured to himself a scene, in which she should have 
taken refuge in his arms. When she had arranged 
her room a little more tidily, she sat down on a chair 
in the remotest corner from him. 

"You came from Larvik ?" she asked. 



214 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"Yes." 

"You left father well?" 

"Fairly well, yes." 

Then there was a pause. Harald was at a loss 
how to act, or what to say. He had failed to put him- 
self in her place. 

"When I received your last letter, I lost no time in 
coming," he said. 

"Yes?" She toyed with the cover on the table. 
"I thought that coming to see me would be the last 
thing you would do, after receiving my letter." 

"Why so?" 

"Oh, you would give me up as being beyond re- 
demption — as being lost to all good influences." 

"You would have me judge you as others have 
done ?" 

C-M^Jather has cast me off. What could I expect 
from any other?" There were tears in her eyes now. 
Then it came suddenly to him that this woman did not 
understand him. How could she, when he had not 
told her his own position? How foolish of him, not 
to tell her at once ! 

"Father would not understand me," she went on. 
"He would not listen to me " 

"But I undcrtsand you, Thora, I understand you. 
Sister Thora." Harald arose and went over to the 
table. "I have always understood you, I believe; and 
understand you now." 

"You understand that I am a 'Mormon.' I made 
it plain to you in my letter, did T not""" 

"I understand that von are a member of the 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 215 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ,Thora. I 
thank God for this knowledge, because — because — I 
also have received of the precious light." 

"What do you mean, Harald Einersen ?" 

"I also, am a 'Mormon' — I also, Thora." 

"No!" 

"Yes; it is true. I am not deceiving you. I am 
also a Latter-day Saint." 

"Oh ! it can't be true." 

"But it is, Thora, it is true." 

"But you are the Head Master in West Akerbv 
school." 

"No; I am not. I am nothing now, nothing in 
this world's estimation ; but I hope something in the 
eyes of my Heavenly Father, and in the eyes of my 
brethren and sisters — and in yours also, — T hora ." J 

Thora had also arisen. She looked into the face 
of the young man as if to read his innermost thoughts. 
Harald had never seen such beauty before. The love 
of a life's accumulation welled up in his heart for her. 
He saw that well-tried soul, in its strength, that puri- 
fied heart in all its immaculateness. From his own ex- 
perience, he judged of hers. The simplicity, the trust- 
fulness, the innocence of the child, shone from her 
face. The longing to take her in his arms was well- 
nigh irresistible. 

"Have you also given up everything for the sal- 
vation of your soul?" she asked. 

"I have given up everything; that is, everything 
worldly — honor, ambition, riches, all have gone, and 



216 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

I thought, love also, — but God has been good to me 
in that. 1 hope He has, Thora. 

"I know what you have suffered. I know, oh, 
1 know — I have also placed all on the altar." 

"All but your love, Thora." 

"I placed all, I said; yes, even my love, I placed 
that on the altar, too!" 

"And God has accepted the sacrifice, but given 
back your love to you thrice blessed. Has he not, 
Thora?" 

"I — I don't know. How can I know?" 

Harald stepped around to her side. "I can tell 
you," he said ; but he spoke not another word. He 
took her trembling hands. She looked into his face ; 
ah, that look ! but her eyes were full of tears, and she 
bowed her head. It was so near to his shoulder 
that he could not resist pressing it down. It lay there 
quietly, while he gently stroked back the wavy, brown 
curls from her forehead. 

God had again been good — good beyond expres- 
sion, to two human hearts. 

"And now you must go back to Larvik with me. 
Can you get ready by tomorrow?" 

"O, Harald, did father say so? May I come 
home?" 

"Well, he didn't exactly say yes; but we can 
manage it." 

"But I can not get ready by tomorrow as I have 
a dress to finish. Yes ; I am a dressmaker now. I 
have to live." 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 217 

"It must be hard." 

"What, to work? Oh, no; work has been a great 
help to me. Of course, I was somewhat clumsy at 
first, but now I pride myself on being a good dress- 
maker." 

"Well, I don't think we ought to stay away from 
your father any longer than possible.'' 

''Give me two days ; I can be ready by that time. 
Poor, dear father, is he that ill?" 

"He is not strong. I have been staying with him 
all winter, but he did not know I was a 'Mormon' until 
just before my leaving Larvik. I had not told him be- 
fore, fearing that had he known, he would not have 
given me a chance to help him ; and I believe I have 
helped him. But when I received your letter, I saw 
my true position, that I was usurping the place of his 
own child. Then I told him." 

"What did he say?" 

"He tried hard to be angry with me, but I don't 
think it amounted to much. However, I may have to 
leave his employ ; but, if he has put up with an ugly 
'Mormon' for three months, he can surely countenance 
a fair one for the same length of time." 

She rewarded him with a glance of the eye, be- 
traying a mind overflowing with love and happiness, 
then sprang up to prepare lunch, which, however, he 
prevailed upon her not to do. 

"Go with me down to the Steam Kitchen," he 
said. 

"Oh, but my sewing," she exclaimed. 

"You will save time by taking a rest. The run 

15 



218 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

will do you good; we can be back in an hour or two 
at the most." 

"Well, my quarters are rather stuffy, so I believe 
I'll go." 

In a few minutes she appeared, ready for the 
street. Even if Thora had to work for a living, he 
noticed that her dress was in no way shabby nor poor. 

So, walking to the street car line, and riding to 
town, they had their dinner at that rather democratic 
dining room, the Steam Kitchen. They took their 
time about it, too ; Thora's press of work did not 
bother them. They were as heart-glad boy and girl, 
freed from some long and dreary school-room task. 

Thora could not return before she had made 
Harald acquainted with the elders at the conference 
house, also some of her intimate friends, fellow re- 
joicers and sufferers in the cause of Christ ; and Har- 
ald found keen pleasure in meeting them, many of 
whom were of the poorer classes; but the love that 
went with each firm hand-shake testified to him that 
they were indeed brethren and sisters. It was late in 
the afternoon before they returned. 

"Now," said Thora, "you go down again to the 
office. Brother Olsen will be there, this evening, and 
I know you will want to talk to him. I must now go 
to work." 

"So you are sending me away. Can't I sit here 
and watch you. I'll promise not to disturb you." 

"No ; you must not stay now. Come again to- 
morrow — tomorrow afternoon." 

"I can't stay away from you that long." 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 219 

"Tut, tut! You that could remain away all these 
years." 

"Thora, don't say that — you know as well as I." 

''There — yes, I know — forgive me. You may 
come tomorrow at noon, then, and I'll have a lunch 
for you. Will that do?" She smiled at him so be- 
witchingly, that it was harder than ever to leave her ; 
but he saw/the wisdom of her plan, and in half an 
hour he went back to the office where he met Elder 
Olsen and a number of other elders. He spent the even- 
ing with them. 

In the afternoon of the third day, Harald and 
Thora were seated in a coupe of the Larvik train. 
When they emerged from the dingy city, they saw the 
snow-covered country glistening in the sun, while the 
forests of pine and fir looked black against the white- 
ness of the snow. Jo these two, sitting there side In- 
side close together/peace had come at last. Xot that 
all trials were over, or that the future would be all 
plain sailing, but nothing, it seemed to them, could 
come now to mar their peace. The great struggle was 
over/ 

"God is good," she whispered7 as if in prayer. 
After a time, he said: 

"Thora, if we had only known, what a comfort 
and a strength we could have been to each other. To 
think that we were fighting the same battle alone and 
separate, when we could just as well have been togeth- 
er ! It would not have been half so hard." 

"No; perhaps it would have been no trial at all, 
Harald. God willed to try us alone. Had we known, 



220 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

it might have been too easy to accept the truth, be- 
cause — because — " 

"Because we loved each other. That's what you 
were going to say, isn't it?" 

i [e hardly heard the whispered, "yes." 

"And you have loved me all the time, Thora, 
even as I have loved you. You can't deny it — you 
don't deny it?" 

'Why should I contradict. I don't like to quar- 
rel." 

"I always thought you cared for me, Thora, even 
away back in boyhood days, although I was a poor, 
ignorant boy." 

"Not ignorant, Harald. You were always smarter 
in school than I." 

"But I was not at the head of my class on con- 
firmation day, was I?" 

"No, but you ought to have been." 

"Yes ; vou have told me that before." 

"Thora," said he again, after a pause, "Was I not 
bold to think of you as I did?" 

"No; I would not have loved you, had you been 
less courageous. I thought, I have always thought, 
that you were a sort of Viking, and would, like your 
ancestors, not let such little things as humble birth, 
or poverty, hinder you from getting anything you had 
set your heart upon." 

"Did you think that? Thank you for telling me. 
You are just like grandmother — " 

"Oh, thank you ; T know I am getting along in 
years, but — " 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 221 

"You know what I mean," he laughed; "grand- 
mother was always telling me that I could become 
what I wished, in righteousness, she always added, 
if I had the faith and grit ; also she said that she could 
have traced her lineage back to Harald Haarfagre if 
she had taken any stock in the matter of blue-blooded 
pedigree." 

"Well, you would better get that genealogy," said 
she. "It will be useful some day." 

As the train rolled on, they repeated to each other 
their stories of life. Harald told of his resolutions 
to get an education, of his struggles at school, of his 
teaching, of his trouble with Pastor Bange, of his dis- 
missal from the West Akerby school, of his political 
ambitions, and his connection with the West Akerby 
Club, of his meeting Elder Olsen. and all the rest, 
with Thora an eager listener. 

"And I thought of you all the time. Thora. I 
thought of where you might be, of what you might 
be doing. At last when I concluded that you had for- 
gotten me entirely, that photograph came and gave 
me new hope. It told me that you were still free, 
and that I could still think about you as I always had. 
Then came the gospel, and. well, then things were in 
a jumble for a time." 

"Harald, I tell you in truth, my heart was with 
you all the time. I knew you would overcome those 
so-called barriers between us, if I could only give you 
time. That is one reason I traveled so much, keeping 
away from Vangen ; but there was another reason. 
Father had great hopes of me. He wanted me to 



222 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

marry a man he had picked out for me. Father has no 
son, you know, and his heart was set on the match. 
It was hard to disappoint him, I know, but I could 
not help it." 

"Of course not," Harald agreed. 

"When I heard of your teaching at Akerby, I 
made up my mind to come home; but just then the 
gospel found me. I have told you how it was. After 
I was baptized I went home and told father. Oh, but 
he was angry. Poor father, I could not make him 
understand. I thought he too, would be glad of such 
tidings of great joy, but you know how it is. Then it 
was that I understood the Master's saying, 'Think 
not that I am come to send peace on earth. * * * 
A man's foes shall be they of his own household?' ' 

"And he drove you from his house." 

"Yes ;" her eyes swam in tears as she looked into 
his face and said it. Then she continued : 

"But I also read that 'He that loveth father or 
mother more than me is not worthy of me,' and so I 
went — went back to Christiania." 

"Why did you not write to me?" 

"Write to you ! Well, at the first, at the very 
first, I thought of that, but afterwards I saw how 
useless it would have been. I dreaded to think of 
having your scorn also. I watched you rise in the 
world. I learned of you as the Head Master of the 
school, I heard some of your friends talking of your 
bright chances to be elected to the Storting, and when 
I gave it up. I could see that things had been reversed, 
as far as our worldly social positions were concerned. 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 223 

I tried not to think of you any more. I would have 
to drop out of your world altogether." 

The sun went down in a clear sky, reddening the 
snowy landscape. The little oil lamp in the roof of 
the car was lighted, and then the train rolled on into 
the night. 

About ten o'clock, they arrived at Larvik. Mer- 
chant Bernhard's servant met them at the door. Mr. 
Bernhard was very ill, she said. The doctor was with 
him. 

"O, Harald, are we too late?" exclaimed Thora. 

"I hope not." They went in. "Tell the doctor 
that we would like to speak to him." 

In a few minutes, the doctor came, and Harald 
explained matters to him. 

"I fear he will not know you," said the doctor; 
"but you may come in as it can not harm him. He 
talks about you, Miss Bernhard, in his delirium." 

They all went into the sick room, and Thora 
walked softly up to the bedside. The old man was ly- 
ing with his face to the wall, as if asleep, so she did 
not disturb him, but stood looking at his pale, sunken 
face and head as white as the pillow on which it lay. 

"If he is asleep, we would better not disturb him," 
said the doctor. "I believe he is resting." 

Harald was surprised at the great change the few 
days of his absence had made. The old man must 
have suffered greatly. 

The doctor said that there would be no objection 
to their watching by his bedside. In fact, their pres- 
ence would help the patient, and if he should recog- 



224 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

nize them, so much the better. But the doctor did 
not understand why they both were doubtful about 
that. As the sick man seemed to be sleeping, the 
doctor left, and Thora drew up a chair to the bedside 
where she sat watching the dear, pale face. After a 
time she told Harald to go to bed, as she would remain 
with her father the rest of the evening. She and the 
nurse would be able to manage for the night. 

About midnight, the sick man turned towards the 
Mde of the bed where Thora was sitting. He looked 
the girl in the face, but did not seem to recognize her. 
However, he made no objections when she took his 
hand and held it firmly in her own ; and when she, 
with her other hand, gently smoothed back the hair 
from his forehead, he lay peaceably looking at her until 
again he fell asleep. 

The next morning, the doctor pronounced his 
patient much better, thanks to Miss Bernhard's as- 
sistance. It did seem that the daughter's subtle influ- 
ence, or faith or prayer, call it what you will, had its 
effect on the father. He would lie for hours holding 
her hand and looking into her face. At first, it was 
certain that he did not know her ; but in a day or two, 
Thora imagined that his eyes penetrated the mist, and 
that he recognized her; but he said nothing. Then a 
little, faint smile came over his face at times when he 
was looking at her, and at that Thora took courage. 

Thus the days passed. The improvement was 
slow, still it was improvement, said the doctor. Har- 
ald attended to the business as usual. Thora devoted 
her whole time and attention to her father. 



THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE. 225 

Then there came a time — in about ten days — when 
the father talked freely to hoth Thora and Harald 
Never once did he mention the matter of religion or 
the "Mormons." He acted as if his daughter had 
never been away from him, and never been forbidden 
to enter his door. And Thora was too overjoyed to 
say anything that would remind him of the past, even 
if he had forgotten. The old merchant was changed. 
His harshness had softened, his severe manner giv- 
ing place to much gentleness. 

One day when he was able to sit up, he called 
Harald to him. 

"How goes the business, Harald?" he asked. 

"As well as can be expected, I think." 

"Are you still in the mind of resigning your posi- 
tion?" 

"Well, no, sir. Not if you want me." 

"I do want you, at least, until I am well again. 
Oh. I'm getting well rapidly now, and I'll be around 
again after awhile. Then we'll see; you'll stay until 
then?" 

"Certainly." 

"All right — and say, Harald, don't imagine that I 
have forgotten about this 'Mormon' business. I hav- 
en't ; but we shall not say anything about it now. And 
as for Thora, she has saved my life, I think, and she 
will have to stay. I was going swiftly when she came 
and pulled me back — yes, pulled me back just as really 
as if she had had a rope on me, pulling me away from 
an awful chasm into which I was falling ; and then, she 
is my daughter, isn't she? and I can't altogether for- 



226 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

get that — she's the only one I have on earth, and it's 
so lonesome to be alone." 

Thora came around to his chair, for she had been 
in the room all the time, and her father had known it. 

"O, father, thank you, and God bless you," she 
cried, as her arms went around his neck, and she kissed 
him on the cheek. Then they both cried softly, and 
he held her brown curls tightly against his cheeks. 

Harald went out and left them together. 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 227 



XII. 



I LES oI.D AND NEW. 



The winter months passed, and Merchant Bern- 
hard slowly regained his health. Thora waited and 
watched over him with utmost solicitude. She was the 
life of the house again, and her smiles and songs glad- 
dened the heart of her father. 

The subject of her religious belief was never con- 
sidered in their many talks. C )nce or twice, Thora had 
tried to explain some tl but, after listening long 

enough to get the drift of her argument, he had told 
her in a gentle way that he did net care to discuss such 
matters. Sometimes Thora. assisted by Harald, sang 
"Mormon" hymns, at which times, the father would lis- 

with an expression on hi- face, as if he enjoyed the 
music ; hut no comment was made by him. 

Vet they were sweet days to Harald and Thora. 
those days of getting better acquainted with each other, 
and of love-making. The long separation had made 
changes in both. In other conditions it would have tak- 

nore time to break through the strangeness between 
them, but the gospel is a wonderful, golden link which 
readily connects the sweet current of love. 

"We have obeyed the new commandment," Harald 
told Thora one day. 



228 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

"What is that?" 

" 'That ye love one another ; as I have loved you, 
that ye also love one another. By this shall all men 
know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to 
another." 

They often read the scriptures together, and dis- 
cussed the new-found delights in them. The Bibh lx- 
came an open book to them now. Many dark passages 
were made clear, many truths that had escaped their 
eyes before, now shone from the inspired record. Had 
they not been "born again of the Spirit," and "the 
Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of 
God." 

Once again over the frozen northland, the frost 
giants were forced to retreat to their abode farther 
north ; and Iduna, the goddess of spring, came with her 
wealth of sunshine and flowers. Thora appreciated the 
return of spring more than ever, as she had been con 
fined to the house very closely. One afternoon when her 
father and Harald were talking of a business trip u o 
Vangen which the latter was obliged to take, Thora 
asked to go, too. She longed to see the old home again 
and many of Vangen's people, also, she said. 

The father could not object, as he was now able 
to get about and take care of himself. The next day 
saw Harald and Thora on the way. 

From the steamboat landing at Vangen, they went 
up the familiar street to Merchant Bernhardt former 
place of business. Thora had looked forward with de- 
light to meeting her old friends, but alas, she had again 
forgotten that she was no longer of this world, and that 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 1^ 

this world loved only its own. Some of her acquaint- 
ances would hardly speak to her: many of them were 
not ashamed to openly taunt her. She had wished again 
to see the old white-painted home not far from the store. 
hut its present owners did not even invite her in. so they 
had to be satisfied with leaning on the fence and looking 
at the lawn and garden. 

••1 see the conservatory i- gone," she said. lhey 
don't care much for flower 

•N,,t even roses," said he. She looked coyly at him 
—they understood each other. 

Thora remained at the little hotel while Harald 
transacted hi. business. It was late in the afternoon 
when he returned. 

•• \re von going out this evening?" lie asked. 
"No; I've had enough for one day. We are fools 
—for Christ's sake/" she said. 

- T.ut we are wise in Christ,' replied Harald. fin- 

ishing the quotation. . . 

'The next morning, Harald secured a man to onve 

them up to ( )pdal. where they arrived just before noon. 
putting the Gundersen household in a Hurry ot excite- 
ment ' The older boys were away, hut the other chil- 
dren stood around staring at their brother and his fine 
lady The mother was busy over a big pot of mush 
which she was preparing for dinner, and the mush- 
stick was going with much force into the depths of the 
boiling mass when the two visitors appeared at the do « . 
"Good! we're just in time," exclaimed Harald, 
cheerily. "I am so hungry for a plate of good, old- 
fa>hioned mush, and here we have it." 



230 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

As a rule, mush was not good enough for visitors, 
but Harald set the housewife's fears at rest by saying 
that they would eat nothing else, so she need not pre- 
pare other dishes for them. 

Soon the father came home for his mid-day meal, 
and there was a warm greeting between them. 

"And this is Sister Bernhard, father," said Harald, 
as he presented Thora to him. 

The father held her hand a long time, as he 
glanced from one to the other. "This is Merchant Bern- 
hard's daughter, isn't it?" he asked. 

"Yes," answered Harald, "but don't you under- 
stand? I said Sister Bernhard." 

Then he understood. "Is it true?" 

"Yes," she said. 

"Then, welcome, sister; and God bless you, and 
give you strength according to your day." 

"Thank you, Brother Gundersen." 

The mush was relished, also the potatoes and salted 
herring. Harald noted that there was a snow-white 
cloth on the table, and that the dishes were new since 
he had been there the summer before. He saw many 
other signs of comfort and adornment in the home, 
which the wife had been able to procure with the money 
which before had gone to the whisky dealer. 

The father was not so crowded with work but he 
could take a half holiday that afternoon. Harald must 
tell him many things, and he had much news to toll 
Harald. So they talked and sang all the afternoon. The 
wife no sooner had the dinner dishes cleared than she 
began preparations for the next meal. 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 231 

"Elder Olsen has visited Updal a number of times 
during the winter,'' said Harald's father. "He has held 
many meetings in the neighborhood, and before his iast 
departure he ordained me an Elder in the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint-." The old man said 
it with the deep* mnity. "I don't know why I 

should be thus honored, I who have been a sinner all my 
day-, and am not learned in the knowledge of the 
schools. However, I thank Cod for His goodness, and 
I try to honor the priesthood conferred Upon me. I hold 
meetings nearly every evening, lately, and I have hopes 
of bringing many to a knowledge of the truth." 

"Have you a meeting tonight?" 

'"Ye>; one down at Gulbrandsen 1 

"Then, we'll go v. ith you." 
f^Tr Tat was the surprise of the neighbors when 

they saw the whole <>f Einer Gundersen's famil 
I [olger, walk into the place <>f meeting. Ridicule turned 
t<> wonder when they saw Thora Bernhard take Ik-' 
seat close by the table and take part in the sing-Jig. 
( rreater was the surprise when towards the dose o' the 
services, they saw her arise by the table, and bea- her 
testimony to the truth of what the two previous speak- 
ers had said. 

" 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it 
is the power of God unto salvation to every one that 
believeth !' " -he said, in closing, "and I want all you 
o^ood people here to know it. Many of you have known 
me for years. You know my father. You know what 
our standing is. yet I want to tell you that I am not 
ashamed of being called a 'Mormon.' The name is 



232 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

nothing, but the principles are everything. In Christ's 
time it was as great reproach to be called a Christian 
as it is now to be called a 'Mormon.' Listen to this 
man ; he will tell you the truth ; and you know, all of 
you, what a power for good the gospel has been to him. 
Many of you need this power not only to save you in the 
eternal worlds, but to preserve you from the gross ap- 
petites of your own perverse nature. God bless you. 
Amem*"! 

*" tt ^men," said Einer Gundersen, so loudly that ev- 
eryone heard. 

The next afternoon Harald and Thora were sailing 
down the fjord towards Vangen. The day was fine. 
The breeze pushed the boat so gently through the 
water that scarcely a ripple appeared. Harald had 
passed in and out of that fjord many, many times, but 
never yet in such a happy mood. Thora sat in the prow 
of the little boat, and sang softly to the hills, which 
echoed back her voice in yet gentler strains. 

Some miles down from Opdal, the mountain juts 
close to the sea, and high, rocky cliffs extend out into 
the water. Towards this point, Harald steered ; and 
they were close under the rocks before Thora saw what 
he was doing. 

"Where are you going?" she asked. 

"Do you recognize this place?" 

Thora looked up to the rocks, and then at the nar- 
row strip of clean sand which stretched away by their 
side. 

"Yes, I remember — I remember your castle, too. 
Let us go ashore and see if there is any of it remaining. 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 233 

"Just what I was going to propose/' he said, as he 
brought the boat in to a small cove. Then he leaped 
ashore, fastened the boat, and helped Thora out. 

Up on the sand, close under the cilff, they saw 
a small pile of stones — once their playhouse on that 
afternoon, years and years ago, when they were chil- 
dren. Father Gundersen had pretty well demolished it 
that afternoon, but traces of the foundation stones 
could still be seen, laid to a square, and some of the 
larger blocks had tilted over in such a manner that a 
low roof had been formed in one corner of the ruin<. 
Harald went around to where Thora had planned the 
forest, back of the castle — he remembered it all clearly 
— and peeped in between the rocks. 

Whirr! a wild duck flew from its nest, and out on 
to the fjord. Harald motioned to Thora to come and 
see. There was the nest, cosily made with sea-weed 
and moss, and in it four beautiful eggs. 

"The castle has been stormed and taken," said he, 
and usurpers are living in our house. "What shall we 
do about it ? 

"Let them live in peace/ 1 she said. "There is room 
for us out on those rocks. Here — help me up, and we'll 
sit on the ledge, while you tell me another fairy story." 

He lifted her up. She was heavier than when he 
had performed that same service years ago, but he was 
now stronger, too. She found a comfortable seat on a 
stone, and he sat down by her side. 

The rocks faced the west, and the warm sun shone 
brightly upon them. Away out lay the Three Trolds, 
and just a glimpse of the ocean could be seen beyond. 



234 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

The broad fjord basked in the sun, and even the bold 
headlands might have been sleeping giants. Up in the 
forest, on the hillside, there was the twitter of birds, and 
from the dim distance sounded the faint tinkle of a 
sheep's bell. Presently the wild fowl came back to her 
nest in the rocks. Thora watched the anxious mother 
cautiously enter her home, and when the duck had dis- 
appeared, the girl smiled upon the manly form by her 
side. 

"So you wish a fairy story," he said. "I fear I 
have forgotten them all ; but I can tell you a true 
story." 

"That will not be so fascinating, I know. I don't 
see how you can sit here in this heavenly place and talk 
of common matters." 

"But this story is the most interesting in the whole 
world. It is not new ; it has been told millions of times, 
by all people, in all climes, from the days of Adam until 
now. Yet it always bears repeating, and it never gets 
common-place nor dull. In fact, this story is not the 
property of man only, but all nature can tell it, and be 
told it, in its own deep-hidden language. The birds 
warble it, the wild fowl tells it to his mate. This story 
may at times be forgotten, but it revives again, even as 
the lilies-of-the-valley appear each spring time on the 
hill-sides in the forest. Would you like to hear the 
story, Thora?" 

She answered with a laugh ; and then threw her 
glance away up the mountains, on the other side of the 
fjord. 

"It's short— it'll not take long." 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 235 

"Well?" 

"It is composed of three words, or chapters, or 
parts, or books — but that is just as the teller tells it, and 
the listener takes it. They are, T love you.' ' 

"That is a short story for such a long preface." 

"Oh, I can make it longer — I love you, I love 
you, I-" 

"Hush ! What a silly man you are !" 

"Thora," he continued, "I had a long talk with 
Elder Olsen when he called at Larvik to bid us goodby, 
and I asked his opinion about our getting married. As 
a rule, he said, the advice is that converts wait until 
they can gather with the Saints, and have the ceremony 
properly performed in the Temple ; but, in our case, he 
thought it probably best not to wait. It may be some 
time before we can leave. Your father depends on us ; 
the business needs us ; and we can do much good where 
we are. What do you think of it?" 

"I don't know, Harald. I have desired to be mar- 
ried in a temple — but if you think — did Elder Olsen re- 
ally say all that, or are you just ribbing a little?" 

"No, Thora, I am in earnest. I think it will be 
best. We would better get married now, and when we 
reach Zion, we can go to the Temple and there obtain 
our blessings, and be united for time and all eternity. 
What a blessed hope that is !" 

"It shall be just as you say, Harald. I will leave it 
to you." 

He found room beside her on the rocky shelf. Then 
he went on, telling her of his hopes and plans ; and they 
were as bright as a heart overflowing with love can 



236 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

inspire. She sat and listened with love's rapture in her 
eyes. 

"You are such a castle builder!" she cried. 
£Yes ; I always have been, and always will be. 
When I cease to build castles, then I cease to live, which 
I pray God never will be, in this world nor in the world 
to come. I believe in castles, Thora, yes even in what 
men call castles in the air. History teaches me that 
back of what we call facts, there has always been a sub- 
tle force ; before the act, there has been the dream ; as 
the architect is to the builder, so is the vision to the re- 
alization. In fact, castle-building is but another name 
for Faith — that power which God himself exercises, we 
are told, and by which the worlds were framed. From 
boyhood I have built castles. Some of them have not 
materialized. That is because they were not construct- 
ed along the fundamental lines that God, the great 
Architect, has laid down. But most of them have been 
substantiated, and I firmly believe that those which we 
shall erect for the near future, Thora — you and I — 
will also be realized. As for the future life, my imag- 
ination is too weak, but here are some of the foundation 
stones on which we may build." Harald took from his 
pocket his Testament, and, turning from passage to pas- 
sage, they read, both bending over the bookjj 

"For ye . . took joyfully the spoiling of your 
goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven 
a better ^and an enduring substance." 

"That will be pretty fine material with which to 
build castles, won't it?" 

"Again, the Lord promises the faithful 'An inner- 



CASTLES OLD AND NEW. 237 

itance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not 
away, reserved in heaven for you.' 

" 'And God shall wipe away all tears from their 
eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the 
former things are passed away.' 

" 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things ; and 
I will be his God, and he shall be my son.' 

" 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have 
entered into the heart of man, the things which God 
hath prepared for them that love him.' 

"There ! conceive of it, Thora. We can not under- 
stand, only as God touches our eyes and our hearts 
with his love, when a faint glimpse of its glories is 
given to us." 

The two sat in silence. From the fjord come 
faint sounds of music, wafted by the breeze from the 
notes of an accordion which some fisher-lad was play- 
ing in his boat. The afternoon was passing, and yet 
they tarried. 

/Yes, Thora," he said, "we will walk together, not 
only to the river of death, but also out beyond that 
stream into the golden realms of eternity. 'All things 
shall be ours, whether life or death, or things present, 
or things to come,' all shall be ours, as they are Christ's, 
and Christ is God's; for then all power will be given 
us, and we shall be celestial beings, to walk and work 
in God's universe foreverT7 Then we may build our 
castles, and set them in the garden of the Lord, there 
to stand eternally, reflecting the glory of God. We 
may adorn them with all the beauty that our hearts 



238 THE CASTLE BUILDER. 

can desire or our imagination conceive, for will not 
the riches of eternity be at our command and service ! 
Then shall we be truly rich, for God will give to us 
our inheritance. Then shall we be truly wise, for all 
heights and depths of knowledge will be open to us. 
Then shall we be truly powerful, for nature's secrets 
will be to us as an open book, and the elements will be 
in our hands as clay in the hands of the potter. 

7Th ora. to live and love forever — my mind is lost 
in the infinitude. I may talk about the home I shall 
build you, my queen, with its gleaming marble and 
precious stones; I may try to picture it surrounded 
with trees and grass and flowers and singing birds ; I 
may try to tell of the new joys forever springing up, 
the new triumphs to be celebrated, the fights to be 
taken into the regions of never-ending wisdom and 
knowledge — but, the human mind is weak. Though 
God has given us a glimpse, Thora, it is but a glimpse, 
after all — but I thank God for that muchTf What lies 
before us yet in this life, we know not, but as long as 
we have this glorious light of hope shining along our 
path, though that path may be set with danger and 
suffering, and strewn with ruin and desolation, yet will 
we lift our eyes to the light, and journey on." 

The sun went down, and the sky grew full of 
color. In the solemn hush of evening, every small 
sound was distinctly heard. Then these minor notes 
were hushed, one by one. The breeze blew soft and 
k>w through the pine forest; the waters laveth sooth- 
ingly the sand; the distant ocean murmured in deep, 
low tones; the shadows grew deeper, and the stillness 



STLES OLD AND NEW. 

of night came on. Then all sounds melted into one — 
the soft, soul-penetrating cadence of a world asleep. 

{Harald and Thora went silently down to the boat. 
The sail wa> hoisted and they floated on to a silver 
< hrer head, steady and true and constant, shone 
Polar StarJ 

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